Some friends (Mary and George, fellow CH'ers here: mimosa and rotie77) had noticed this place being renovated with the sign: "Rustic French Bistro" along Adams Avenue (almost across from the Trolley Barn Park). Address is 2121 Adams (I remember that because Cafe 2121 used to be there, but has now moved farther down Adams, to a location even less auspicious...).
We were greeted at the door by the chef's wife, Rochelle. Very personable and gracious, we'd made reservations for five and had a late addition. The place was nearly packed, it's a very small place, with a wine bar with about 12 seats, maybe 14 tables with banquet seating on one side, a couple of tables outside. One negative was the noise level, all the surfaces are hard and there were a couple of loud groups (unfortunately we were seated next to one of them for the first hour).
Menu is fairly limited, but Rochelle said that they were going to rotate a lot of items. Five appetizers/soups/salads, five entrees, five desserts. Apps were $6-10, Entrees were mostly $14-18, with the burger and fries being $10, desserts were around $6-8. One nightly special appetizer and two special entrees (I forgot both, since I wasn't going to order one after listening to the descriptions).
For appetizers we ordered the Salmon confit , leak and potato soup and the appetizer special: flat bread with carmelized onions, balsamic vinegar, parmesan and fresh basil(IIRC). Of those, the clear favorite of the group was the flatbread (presented like a pizza). My favorite was the Salmon confit, and there was a generous serving of very nice looking Salmon (about 5oz), but others in the group were less enthused. I didn't try the soup.
For entrees, we had Braised Lamb Shank on a bed of polenta, Sea Bass with sliced fingerling potatoes (IIRC), pasta with pesto, flat-iron steak with frites. My favorite of the ones I tried was the steak and frites, the steak was very flavorful and the frites were as good as I've had in San Diego, and although I didn't try it, everyone else said the pasta with pesto was very good. I thought the lamb shank was good, but the lamb was very gamey and had some tendon (I guess that goes with it being "Rustic"). A couple of others in the group thought it was just too gamey and the lamb pieces were a bit tendony. Also the polenta was a bit dry, even with the braising liquid. We all went almost in unison: "Remember the polenta at Pizzeria Via Italia!". The Sea Bass I only tried a small piece of and thought it was OK, but probably not something I'd order.
For dessert, we ordered a couple of peach clawfuti's with rosemary ice cream. This was very good, the rosemary ice cream was wonderful.
We brought in our own wine (three bottles), and I don't think they had a corkage policy before us, so they waived corkage.
For six people total bill (without drinks) came to $185.
All in all, I thought this was a place with a lot of potential. The chef (forgot his name) and Rochelle are super-nice people. If I'd ordered the Salmon confit, steak and frites and peach clawfuti, I would have absolutely raved about this place.
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