Thanks to rworange's encouragement, we decided to take our chances with no reservation for Cafe Jacqueline on a Sat night by arriving before they opened at 5:30pm. Got to North Beach around 5pm to get a parking space, found one 2 blocks away after driving around for about 6-7 minutes. Walked to CJ, and found the CJ staff waiting for the lady herself. Per their suggestion, we walked around, sat patiently next door at the bar, then we were finally rewarded about 5:45pm with a table for two. The 2 wait staff we encountered were very nice and not at all intimidating or snobbish.
This is a SMALL restaurant - no more than 24-26 people could fit. It was about half full till around 7pm, then it was completely full. During our 2 hrs there, we saw several parties attempt to come in and get a table without a reservation; as far as I could tell, no one (besides us) was successful.
The specials of the day were a souffle appetizer of champignons and garlic, and dessert fruit souffles of either peach or strawberry. DH decided on the spinach salad with pine nuts and bacon, and I had the onion soup to start. We ordered the prosciutto and mushroom entree souffle, followed by the chocolate dessert souffle.
Bread and butter came first - a very yummy french baguette loaf - crusty on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. I wanted to get more, but figured I should save my appetite. Then the starters came - DH's salad was really tasty, with some kind of vinagrette dressing, and I don't know why I've never thought to put pine nuts in my salad! My onion soup was light and cheesy (Gruyere); different than I expected, but good. The onions were diced or chopped, not long pieces, and the broth wasn't beef - DH overheard that it was vegetable. But very good still.
Our first souffle arrived a little bit afterwards. It wasn't noted in the menu, but the souffle also had gruyere cheese in with the mushrooms - 4 slices of prosciutto on top. Really good - light and airy, and the 2 of us finished it all. Another 15 minutes later, then the chocolate souffle arrived. My favorite dessert is chocolate mousse, and this souffle is like chocolate mousse, but lighter (and eggier). It was dusted with powdered sugar, and DH and I fought over the crunchy parts (on top and on the sides). We almost finished it, but couldn't.
We spent about 2 hours there, but we didn't have a show, concert or anything else scheduled for the evening, and I think that's the only way to enjoy CJ. Next time, I want to try the brie and broccoli souffle, followed by the lemon dessert souffle.
Total for the evening for all the food listed (plus 2 diet cokes) with tax came to about $92, with tip it was $111. Thanks for reading this!
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