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Union Square/FiDi updates: Colibri, Grand Cafe, Canteen (not,),Jeanty at Jack's

susancinsf | Jun 18, 200501:56 AM

Had a series of meetings at the Hotel Monaco this week, so was hanging out downtown. Since I usually work in Oakland spent some time at places we don't usually go to:

First of all, have to put in a word for the Monaco. If I were staying in the area it would be high on my list: free WiFi, lovely public areas, great staff, high marks all around. Cartered food is above average. The fruit at the continental breakfast was actually ripe.

But as for the Chow:

Colibri Mexican Bistro: hadn't been here since a visit shortly after they opened, and while that visit was mostly enjoyable, subsequent reports have been mixed. However, I needed an early lunch before one of the meetings started, and ducked in here out of the rain. Service was very attentive, but then the place was just about empty...had the jicama/grapefruit salad, which was huge and well-seasoned, but imbalanced (too much jicama)...along with sopes: three smallish sopes: one with chicken, one beef in a chipotle sauce, one vegetable. Only the vegetable didn't work too muddled. Best part of the meal: the hot, fresh tortillas. Tasted perfect on a cool day. They gave me six, offered me more when I finished those. Tortillas and salad would have been plenty for lunch. also good: salsas are hotter than I remembered, even the sweet one, which tasted of habanero. Best of the trio though was the salsa verde. I ended up dipping half of the jicama pieces into it. anyway, an enjoyable lunch. I still need to try their heuvos rancheros from the breakfast menu...

Grand Cafe: Did a business dinner for twelve here, and they did a nice job. All the guests enjoyed it. I wasn't too hungry, so had just a beet/arugula salad, better than average, and the scallop appetizer, which was quite tasty.

Wanted to try Canteen, but it was booked solid tonight. A colleague from the group had tried it earlier in the week on my recommendation, and loved it.

So, since hubby and I have never been to Jeanty at Jacks: convinced hubby to meet me and walk over after the last meeting...Had asked for a private table when booking and were seated upstairs, which I much preferred for decent table spacing, though I still wouldn't call it particularly romantic.

Food: tomato soup was rich, creamy, delicious, though I actually could have done without the theatrical puff pastry top. Beet salad: a much more assertive version than at Grand Cafe. Cpq au vin with a side of noodles: extremely rich with a predominant bacon flavor. Chicken was two nicely cooked thighs, but the skin somewhat rubbery and was seperating from the meat in an unappetizing way. Included lovely looking pearl onions and mushrooms but they didn't have a lot of flavor. Accompanying noodles were nothing special, and are charged as an extra item, even though the cog au vin came in a relatively small ramekin with no sides. Steak frites: hubby polished it off, I didn't taste since he put a fair amount of bernaise on it, and I don't do taragon.

My overall impression of Jeanty at Jack: I'd go back, but not in a rush, as prices are fairly high for the quality (higher than on the website)

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