for some time i've planned on going to jeanty at jack's to sit at the bar and try it out. the other night i went with a friend, shelving plans for a russian meal at sadko in the richmond until just the right frigid night. it seems that most of the reports here are just a little dated, so here's my fresh take:
we started with their hallmark tomato soup with puff pastry shell. it was perfect for two, being rather rich. the shards of pastry that fell into the soup soaked up the flavors nicely, softening and adding a buttery touch. we had a beet and mache salad with feta, which was good, but ordered more for balance and lightness. i love beets, but beet salad is beet salad is...
next were mussels in red wine sauce. these were nice and plump, fragrant with thyme. being really limited in my experience with french food, this was the first time that i've had mussels cooked in red rather than white wine. a welcome change.
my favorite was the petit sale, though. the lentil ragout with deeply flavored, enhanced with smokey bacon. i noticed later that steak knives had been laid out before us, but the slab of pork belly was fork tender, and the small thin slice of foie gras...well it was actually my first real exposure to foie gras. the first time i had it was at a birthday, where some cooks stole some from their restaurant as a gift for the birthday girl. they overcooked it and i can't remember the taste. i've had it in pate as well, but that was highly seasoned. but i loved it in this dish. of course it was rich, almost custard soft, and a bit sweet. how long before the ban takes effect again?
finished with a creme brulee, which had a vanilla custard base and a chocolate mousse top layer. not the most adventuresome dessert, but classic and solid. we were given complimentary glasses of port, as well, which is always, always welcome.
i wanted to eat here to suss it out for future events, and i wasn't disappointed. the space is gorgeous and historic. our bartender encouraged us to take the elevator to the top floor and explore the then nearly empty restaurant, with the photos of alfred hitchcock and herb caen, and the old menus from when it was jack's. frog's legs. turtle soup. old school.
i don't know how it stacks up against bistro jeanty in yountville, but i will definitely be going back. anyone care to weigh in their strengths or weaknesses? there was a lamb tongue and potato salad that looked interesting. and i'm waiting for a fog heavy night to try their cassoulet, too.