Friday, August 21, 2009

Chouquet's (Pacific Heights SF)

Almost fantastic French fare

We came to Chouquet's for a Dine About Town dinner in late May or so. Though none of us had ever heard about this place, we were won over by how cute the name "Chouquet's" sounded. Note: To a girl, it's perfectly rational to make decisions based on the measure of adorableness of the thing or place in question.

From left to right: amuse bouche of asparagus soup, smoked trout salad, salmon carpaccio (?), grilled ahi, gnocchi with vegetables, chocolate cake

I was pleased to receive the complimentary asparagus soup at the beginning of the meal because free food is always delicious in my book (except airplane food which is only arguably free and vile in any case). The soup was fairly tasty but not particularly notable. For appetizer, I ordered the smoked trout salad, which was actually quite fantastic. There was a suprising number of ingredients in the salad. Besides smoked trout, it also featured watercress, pepitas, carrots, onion, mustard seed, among a couple of other things, and a nice hint of acidity. The overall mixture was refreshing and hearty too! My friend who had the salmon had good things to say about that too.

Our entrees took quite a bit of time to appear. I suppose it was okay because we had all felt sort of full after the appetizers. My grilled ahi tuna had a nice texture and was paired nicely with the accompanying salad. My only complaint is that that the salad was a bit too acidic and tasted too much like the smoked trout salad of my previous course.

Dessert, which is usually the happiest portion of the meal, was unexpectedly sad in this instance. Well, not entirely. Sure, my chocolate cake was pretty delicious. But 1) dessert took forever and a half to arrive and 2) my friend's creme brulee was sort of a disaster in that it had totally not set and was basically a custard soup bouying a thin film of bruleed sugar. After a valiant effort to eat the creme brulee soup, my friend asked if it could be sent back and deducted from the check. The hostess then begrudgingly offered to replace it with the chocolate cake. Not that the replacement chocolate cake wasn't tasty, but due to how long the entire meal took, we were literally the last remaining customers in the restaurant when said cake was done.

Even though the food was fairly good, the snob in me feels that the slow service and dessert debacle warrant a couple of demerits from my overall judgment of Chouquet's. My advice for future visitors: arrive early and refrain from getting the creme brulee.


Elizabeth Lin said...

Hi Jane!

I've been to Chouquet's! Bryan and I went there for our first V-day dinner, and they had his/her menus and roses for me. They had the most delicious lobster salad! It was rather pretentious though, for such a small not famous type of place haha. But it was very cute and romantic (although the tables were so close together that it was kind of awkward).


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