Restaurants & Bars 1

Elite Cafe

jaweino | Jan 13, 2006 12:32 PM

We had dinner at Joanna Karlinsky’s new incarnation of The Elite Café last night. RWFoodie has given a very good description of the restoration in her description of the Brunch, so I will not go into that here.

The first thing on the menu is Meetinghouse Biscuits. Unfortunately they don’t show up automatically as at The Meetinghouse. They are priced at 4 for $4.25 or 7 for $6.75, but they are every bit as good as I remember. You can also order a box of 24 to bake at home for $24. Note: “Meetinghouse Biscuits” in the Williams Sonoma catalog are NOT these biscuits.

The menu is divided into four parts: Share, Start, Main, and Sides. The Share section has the biscuits and Cornbread (no bread is served) as well as Fritters, BBQ shrimp, oysters, etc. We ordered the Fried Zucchini, Okra, Artichokes & Sweet Onion Rings. It was a very good choice. I especially liked the light batter on the onion rings, not the doughy concoction that seems so prevalent on this coast. It was served in a cone with a mustard sauce on the side that we mostly ignored as unnecessary.

On the Start section I noticed several old favorites from The Meetinghouse such as Rock Shrimp & Scallion Johnnycakes, Dungeness Crab Cakes, and Goat Cheese and Leek Tart. There was also Seafood Gumbo from the Hotel Utah. There were also several salads and a soup.

In the Main section the only carryover I noticed was the Niman Ranch Pork Chop, which had always been one of my favorites at The Meetinghouse. Many of the dishes in the Main section can be ordered in half order size. We had the Shrimp, Duck, and Andouille Sausage Jambalaya and the BBQ Pork Ribs with Hoppin’ John and Cole Slaw. The Jambalaya was a home run. It was served in a frying pan on a bed of rice infused with all the flavors. There were generous portions of duck, sausage, red and green peppers, but a little bit skimpy on the shrimp. The flavor was marvelous and I would happily order it again. The ribs were another story. They weren’t what I would really call BBQ. No smokiness at all and served in a tasty but messy sweet, thick sauce. They were tasty and falling off the bone, but there were so many other things on the menu that looked appealing that I would definitely not order these again. The ribs were served with an outstanding cole slaw and a very good Hoppin’ John. The Cole Slaw was made of red and green cabbage with fennel seeds and a light vinegary dressing, YUMMY. The Hoppin’ John, rice and black eyed peas was very tasty. It appears on the Sides with Ham Hock and it would be worth ordering.

For dessert we split a Malted Milk Chocolate Crème Brule, which was light and delicious.

The wine list, while not big, has a good variety at fair prices. There are also 12 wines by the glass. Corkage is $18, $25 for magnums. Parking is available at 2021 Steiner between California and Pine for $5.

I’m looking forward to going back there soon and trying the other items on the menu.

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