After a month of long hours at work, I decided to splurge on a weekend getaway to SF. For me, coming to your fair city from LA is always fun, especially at this time of year when I can make use of the coats sitting in my closet. Weeks ago, the bf and I agreed to top off our weekend with dinner at Cafe Jacqueline, which we'd read great reviews on....
But how sad I am to say that I probably wouldn't recommend the restaurant--it wasn't particularly romantic, the kitchen timing was poor, and service was indifferent. Aside from their french onion soup, I wasn't wowed by any of my dishes. Was my experience just an anomaly?
For starters, the dinner took almost 3 hours. The long wait was expected and really didn't bother me; what stung was the poor course timing. I totally understand that souffles have a mind of their own, but I expected the appetizers (non souffles) to be timed halfway when the souffle was ready. Otherwise, a refill of the bread basket would be ok as we waited...and waited...and waited. After 50 minutes of generally being ignored by the waitstaff, we were finally given our soup--a peppery "just ok" asparagus soup for me, an amazing french onion one for K. That onion soup was divine--velvety soft onions that just melted on the tongue and lots of browned cheese. I'm salivating just remembering it. Anyway, I had barely finished my soup, and K had only gotten halfway through his, when our souffle came out! The waiter absently pushed aside my boyfriend's soup (saying "I won't take this away yet because I know how good it is") and preceeded to cut the souffle into pieces for us. Since my guy isn't a mushroom fan, we ordered the white corn, garlic and ginger souffle...which turned out to be bland, bland, bland. Not enough garlic, gruyere or anything else. It tasted like yorkshire pudding with bits of corn. After another half hour, our chocolate souffle came out but it was almost fully cooked---still moist but didn't generate any of those "ummmm" noises I thought I'd make, and only a sliver of molten chocolate inside. For a restaurant that boasts of souffles, I was really really saddened by the dessert! Was looking forward to it all week only to discover that I've had much better ones elsewhere.
I'm not sure what went wrong, because most of the reviews I've read were spectacular. Was I just there on an off night? I had really wanted to like this place. Perhaps the kitchen is getting too busy to look after each souffle that is made? (Every table was full, the entire time, we were there.) Also, I will concede that I only had two (out of a dozen) souffles on the menu, so maybe I just selected the wrong two... Or maybe I just need to refine my souffle taste buds??