I know this write up is super late (the draft has been sitting around unpublished for almost a month), but I guess better late than never.
So I celebrated my 23rd birthday on December 19th and I went out to lunch with the accounting crew at work. I honestly had no idea where to go and eat. Well . . . what I really mean is that many of the places I wanted to eat at were not taking reservations for groups because of the holiday season. That is the only thing that sucks about having my birthday in December. A lot of companies or large groups go out and celebrate the holidays with their co-workers (and we kind of fit that description too). I could have settled for The House or somewhere else familiar, but I really wanted to try something new.
After searching on Yelp for a while I came across a French restaurant on Kearny. I figured that would be a nice place to try because it has descent reviews and I don’t go out for French food very often.
As we arrived at the restaurant, I quickly noticed how small it was and it seemed a little crammed, but it was still charming. I guess you could say it was a little more cozy than other restaurants, but I guess it gives off the ambiance of really eating in a Parisian bistro or brasserie.
To start, I ordered the French Onion soup. This was by far one of the best onion soups I’ve had in a while (my most favorite one was in Maui). The onions were nice and sweet and the soup itself was not too salty. What really made this soup great was the toasted bread and melted cheese on top. As I was slowly making my way through the soup, the cheese was stretching really far and was constantly getting stuck to my spoon, which made the experience really fun.
These were the steamed mussels in a garlic and butter sauce with a side of pommes frites. I tried one and it was garlicky and buttery. I personally am not a fan of mussels, but I wanted to give it a try.
If I remember correctly, this is a mushroom terrine. I didn’t try it, but it looks very delicious. I should go back to try it because I really love mushrooms.
This was the pork roast with vegetables and potato gratin. I tried a little piece of it, but I didn’t really care for it. I found it to be too dry for my liking, way overcooked. I actually had a hard time trying to finish what was already in my mouth. I would skip this dish.
This was the fish of the day which was sea bass. I didn’t trying this one, but it must have been good because the plate was clean in the end.
So for my dish, I had one of the specials listed on the chalkboard. I wanted to try the beef bourguignon because I’ve never had it before and also because Amy Adams made such a big deal out of it in the movie, Julie & Julia. In the movie, apparently this dish is one of Julia Child’s best so I might have set the expectations a little high. I personally thought the dish was good, but not great. Maybe it was the wine used in it, I don’t know. The beef was tender, but not tender like “you don’t even need a knife” tender. I did love the potato gratin, though. I do think, however, that for a French restaurant, the serving size was great. I was so full in the end.
But of course I had to have dessert! It’s my birthday after all! Oh what the heck, I can have two desserts if I want to!
The first of the two desserts was the creme brulee. Taste-wise, it was good, but there were two things I would have liked to make this better. First, I want the inside to be nice and chilled. I think mine was at room temperature. Second, I wish the top was torched a little more. I really like cracking into a hard, sugary shell. My first love for creme brulee still goes to The House. No creme brulee beats theirs. As for the chocolate mousse, I actually liked this one. It was chocolately, but not too sweet. I thought it was very airy and light which was nice. I would definitely choose this over the creme brulee any day.
So here is the accounting department (without me because I’m the one who took the picture).
Overall, I would say the food is descent, but not spectacular, with the exception of the French Onion soup. I guess we came on a bad day because the restaurant was understaffed with only one waitress (who is French, by the way) and I think two chefs. Also of the restaurant’s tables were filled and it took so long for our food and to even get our waitress’s attention. We were wondering why the operation of the restaurant for the day was such a mess and we found out that the waitress was the one who works the dinner shift. There are usually two waiters at lunch, but they were in a car accident earlier in the morning so she was called to come in by herself. I really felt sorry for the girl because was a hot mess. She was running all over the place, she forgot things, and she dropped a few dishes. There was even a table that walked out because they waited too long for their food and another table that sent their food back at least once because of some miscommunication. I really do feel bad for giving such a harsh review, but I am just simply telling you what happened on my visit here. I guess I may have felt a little underwhelmed choosing it for my birthday lunch, but it was something that I can’t control. Had I known that they were understaffed and so frantic, I would have take my business elsewhere and would probably come back another time when things are more smooth. But then again, you can;t forsee these things and you just have to deal with it. I will say, however, that I would be willing to give Restaurant Ducroix another chance to redeem themselves when I start having French Onion soup withdrawals.
So my rating for this particular visit:
Food: 3.5 / 5 (with the exception of the soup, of course)
Service: 2 / 5
Atmosphere: 3.7 / 5