San Jose >Food & Dining > Emiles
545 S Second St, San Jose, CA | Directions 9511237.328409 -121.883352
Neighborhoods: Central San Jose, Central
Emile's is now warm and friendly too – I'veloved Emile's for years. It's now under new ownership and has retained its classiness, but increased its warmth.
Food is great, ambience, although a little old-fashioned is lovely - quiet, white tablecloths, not to tightly together, makes for a wonderful evening out.
Good Enough for This Frenchman – What can I say ? I am French, and I am most critical of American's that profess to serve French Food. I was very depressed to have been sent on business to San Jose. Hoping that I may partake of the exquisite food of
in San Francisco. It was not meant to be. I asked the
concierge of my hotel if there was any decent food within walking distance, and he recommended Emile's Restaurant. It was a brisk walk through a colorful neighborhood. When I arrived, I was greeted with great flourish by the Maitre'D and escorted to a quiet candlelit table. What can I say? I have not seen a dining room as beautiful and elegant in quite some time. It has a patina of another time. Perhaps Paris or Zurich in the 50's. When I was a child my Papa would take me to the finest restaurants throughout Europe and Emile's is of that class. It was a pleasure to just sit and sip my wine and allow wonderful memories to flow over me.
For my starter, I had the Prawns over a Lobster Cake. I could have easily made a feast of the garlic sauce and Fresh French Banquette. Upon the Maitre'D's advice I had their house Mimosa salad. Butter leaves dressed beautifully with coarse chopped egg on top. Elegant in its simplicity. For my entree, I chose the Duck. Typically, American's fall flat when preparing Duck. It is always either too dry, or overly sauced or worse,..both. These little duck breasts were prepared perfectly. The Grand Marnier Sauce was carefully drizzled over not sloshed on. The vegetables were like candy. The Mashed Sweet Potatoes were as smooth as silk. For dessert, i chose the Apple Tarte. One could not have expected better in any Parisian shop. The tarte came with a dollop of Fresh Pistachio Ice Cream. It was meal memories are made of. I was so saddened that I couldn't share it with my friends.
As there is not enough space for my review, I must continue it here: I must admonish the previous review. My dear young lady, your rudeness and lack of manners speak for itself. As Parisian's our feathers do not get ruffled if we should pass a Chef or cook having a smoking a silly cigarette on a break. If half of the Chef's I have seen in this country could cook half as well as the Chef at Emile's, I would buy them cigarettes myself. Nevertheless, now I must defend Miss Alexandra.
Rubbish! Awful! Don't Bother! – Drive through an alley then into an area like a mugging scene from a movie. In your finery, walk past all the staff members busy puffing away on their ciggies, knowing that they will be cooking and delivering your meal, yum. Inside is a glass walled room where a private party was on display like a human zoo. "YOU are not special, WE are special. In fact, WE are so special, we'll allow you to see how much better we will be treated than you", it seemed to shout. As there was only the private party and another table in the entire restaurant, service should be no problem. But we beg for attention to order our overpriced choices. After being told that three of our choices were binned by Chef, the waiter came to my husband and announces, "...there is a problem with your sausage, sir." I laughed until I though I'd hurt myself, the waiter was clueless. Seems that Chef thought that the sausages were 'wiffy' and binned them. Now, I am going through the entire scene from Gourmet Night, with Basil Fawlty doing his level best to bring Michelin stars to the "English Riveria". Meal was mediocre at best and not worth the money it costs. Veggies portion was stingy. Ah, the owner. I hope you like her, because she will monopolize your time while your over-priced meal quickly cools. She swans around like she's accepting an Academy Award. The most affected, over dressed, over made up, over perfumed, insincere woman I have ever met. I was looking for Patrick Swayze and Wesley Snipes to come out in full drag. Very "Too Wong Foo". As she prattled, we all struggled to maintain a straight face at her attempts to be youthful, seductive and alluring, despite her obvious old age and botched plastic surgery. Let's order dessert...but Chef strikes again, as he has chucked more items in the bin. The famous souffle is like pudding mix with egg whites. We pay our over-inflated bill, down the dimly lit alleyway, past the smoking staff, bums and go home to our Tums & Fawlty Towers.
Ah. Is it no wonder? It seems to me you are quite obsessed with Miss Alexandra. But then again, you Brit's are not known for your beauty or charm.
Awesome Food & Warm Service – I have been to Emile's many times growing up with my parents. This has always been a special occassion place for all of our family celebrations. The old owner, Chef Emile always came to visit our table and made a fuss over us kids. I always loved the Mimosa Salad, the French Onion Soup, and of course the Grand Marnier Souffle. We always hated the mean hostess. Our father use to call her Old Ironsides. I just graduated SJSU and since living on my own couldn't afford Emile's. However, since San Jose did that Dining promotion, my friends and I were able to make a reservation and enjoy Emile's for a 30.00 pre fix menu. The food was awesome, the price was right, but the best part was being taken care of by the new owner Alexandra & her family. As soon as we entered we were greeted by a very friendly and bubbly hostess. We loved our server Michael who was a little slow, but very charming. After dinner Alexandra offered to take us on a field trip (as she called it ) throughout the restaurant. We even got to explore the kitchen and go behind where the chef cooks. We were surprised to see a young girl preparing a dessert plate. Alexandra informed us that it was her daughter training to be a chef! I never knew how big Emile's was. There are banquet rooms and a teaching kitchen. We even got to peek upstairs into the offices and the rooftop deck ! When we got back to our table, our server Michel presented us with the check and Alexandra introduced him......he was her husband. Upon leaving we found out the hostess was Alexandra's other daughter. We were treated like royalty! I totally reccommend Emile's to anyone that wants an awesome meal, friendly and warm service in an elegant atmosphere. Now that I know I can afford to eat there, Emile's will be my new "grown-up" hangout.
Horrific – Despicable that this restaurant considers itself 4 star and gourmet. Items missing from plates and food not prepared as menu stated (ie. no pistachio crust on the pistacio crusted salmon, no cherry tomatoes on cherry tomato and goat cheese gnochi, no lavender in the vanilla bean lavendar crem brule, no creme fraiche in the potatoe leak soup, no glaze on the beef medallions). Also, the gnochi were actually french fries (WTF?!) and the crab cakes were cold and obviously pre-packaged/frozen. Beyond overpriced. Beyond dissapointing. The servers were attentive and polite, though obviously not gourmet knowledgeable. I will never recommend this restaurant and I will never return. If you think this is gourmet, you've been frequenting TGIF's too long.
Once Again a 5 Star Restaurant ! – I am a long time customer of Emile's Resaturant. This is my 3rd time going to Emile's since the new owners took over. My husband and I went there on Valentine's Day, and I have been back twice. Once with my friends and once with my Mom. I think that other reviewer is very wrong. I am Asian. On Valentine's Day the new owner came to our table 2 times. She gave us a gift certificate also. For many years we didn't return to Emile's because we felt the food wasn't what it use to be, and the service had slipped. The food is better than it's ever been, and all the servers we have had since the new owners have taken over have been very polite, and extremely professional. I think the new owner has done a great job, and I certainly don't think she discriminates or I wouldn't have gone back. I think Emile's Restaurant is once again a 5 star restaurant.
Amazing ambiance, great food – Emile's offers a cosy French ambiance, which feels and tastes like true French cuisine. It is intimate, and until May 15th, they have this exhibit of a French artist called "3 days in Paris". Stunning photographs to match great food. A must see.
Average food, horrible wait staff, and a nice (new) owner. – Did not notice that the Owner was a bigot as Tweetster suggests. My husband and I went to Emile's for V-day and as a very young African-American couple we received a very warm welcome from the owner, she visited our table twice to see how dinner was going and to give us a free souffle certificate. We didn't happen to notice her treatment of Asians, however, like the other reviewer. But, that's not to say it didn't happen.
Our main issue was with our waiter. We were seated at 6pm and he didn't speak to us once (or at least bring us water) until well after 6:30!! It was supposed to be a lovely romantic evening for us, so we decided to be patient. Another waiter from a totally different section noticed we had no waiter and pointed us out to him. From then on, he acted as if he was very rushed when at our table and was very slow. We were seated at 6pm and did not get out of there until 9:10pm!! We made it home in time to see Lost, but we were still very upset by the waiter's horrible service.
New Owner is a total Bigot – I was here on V-day and there was a number of asian couples. And the NEW owner went around the tables and introduced herself, and informed the customers of a new breakfast/brunch thing, and inviting them to try it with a free suffle invitation flyer thing. i dunno if it was intentional or subconscious, but she totally neglected all the tables that were Asian. It's a small place, and i was sitting there for more than 2 hours with my boyfriend for their 5 course prefix V-day menu, and noticed that she skipped over all the asian/minority tables. Unbelievable, and I don't even think she's French.
Just okay French food – Maybe we came on an off night but when my husband and I went, there were some misses. Living near downtown, I wasn't concerned with the neighborhood or exterior but the interior seemed a bit cramped, maybe also because it was busy. My biggest problem was when I got the medallion of duck I ordered, they were undercooked. At the time I hadn't heard that duck was something that could be medium, but I was annoyed that I wasn't asked or told. We too got vegetables that were overly simple compared to the rest of the dinner. Overall, we just couldn't get excited about our meals, especially not at these prices. Maybe better luck next time but doubt there will be one.
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