Not Quite Up To Expectations: Jardiniere, San Francisco

The restaurant is beautifully designed and decorated by co-owner Pat Kuleto, the master of classy San Francisco eateries. The two-story brick edifice is a landmark. The energy in the air and around the bar is infectious.

But sadly, the French-California cuisine and the service didn’t quite live up to our expectations at Jardiniere last night. Celebrating its 10th anniversary as one of San Francisco’s most popular restaurants, especially with the opera, ballet and symphony crowd, this landmark is co-owned by Chef Traci Des Jardins, FoodTV’s “Iron Chef” winner.

We had a cozy table with a great view of the room in the corner upstairs, overlooking the bar and adjacent to the piano. The service was a bit substandard for a restaurant of this caliber. The waiter was aloof and unfriendly.

And the food… well, the three salads were superb. The Red Wine Braised Shortribs were a huge hunk of beef and very tender. The Steelhead Salmon was deliciously prepared but a surprisingly small serving for $32. But the Carnaroli Risotto with Wild Mushrooms was not to our liking at all and when we told the waiter, he kind of shrugged his shoulders. We thought he should have offered then to bring us a dessert on the house, or deduct it from the bill. (He did but only told us so after we paid the tab and he picked it up from the table.)

I’d still recommend Jardiniere for its ambience and reputation. But bring lots of cash. It will run you about $70/person with a drink or glass of wine.

A: 300 Grove Street (at Franklin), San Francisco, CA 94102.
T: 415.861.5555.

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