Would not go back.
I've had ubber tasting menus with super-ubber prices, and yes this is expensive, but I think it was not outrageous. Quality was okay, but it cannot compete with the Napa equivalents.
One negative I did not miss, when someone brings their own bottle the staff should open it in front of you, pour a little to taste, and so forth. Our server took the bottle away and it came back open. That may be a non-issue for most folks, but that's basic fine dining practice. Lack of training and unmemorable food. Unfortunately, most of the European restaurants in Castro street are the same - unmemorable, and I was hoping this would be different. It was more pricey. I find myself travelling to Napa for my ubber tasting menus and I was so hopeful to find something in the Peninsula.
We had a good memory - not anymore!.
We took my hubbys Grandma on Saturday and were very disappointed. We had the 4 courses with wine pairings, $140 each, my husband upgraded his appetizer to the fois gras (+ $15), we added one cheese plate (+ $25) with wine (+ $10 ea). With t&t, it was $700.
We have been lucky to eat at a lot of good restaurants - including Gary Danko, Farallon, Parcel 104, the Ahwahnee, Alexanders, Aquarello, and in October we were in New York and ate at Babbo (Mario Batelli). All are way better. We paid less at Babbo for 4 of us, including a dish with fresh truffles (though to be fair, we were with two teetotal vegetarians)
At $700 for 3, and a Michelin Star, I expect to be wowed. We were not. A few dishes were very good - the butternut squash souffle with langoustine curry to start was great. Foie gras was ok. The mushroom soup which was tasty, but had been ladled into a cold one-serving jug, and then was poured at the table into a cold dish. While this was a cool presentation, it also made for a cool soup. Literally - lukewarm at best.
The scallop was pretty good but Farallon definitely does them better. the striped bass was the better of the two fish dishes on offer. Again, sauce poured at table = cold.
We had all 3 of the meat dishes. My beef was the best of the 3 but not up to Alexanders. The pork dish was average - I had better at a Four Seasons wine dinner. Squab was merely 'meh'.
Cheese course was good - interesting selections. Desserts were average - nothing stood out.
Overall, their plating is way too complicated and dare I say it, pretentious. By the time they do all that, the food is getting cold. I'd rather eat it hot. They do a good job on the wine pairings. The small dining rooms are cute but sterile and the staffing was confused - which one was our server, and what were their names? Impersonal. No real love or warmth in the place, staff, and worst of all, the food. Not going back.
A century-old Mountain View Victorian houses this romantic, high-end eatery offering contemporary French cuisine with an Asian twist.. Special occasions draw diners to this petite, historic spot that boasts fixed menus and a list of more than 230 international wines spanning France to South America. The house's four small dining rooms are private and graceful, with white-clothed tables perfect for two and an antique feel that reflects the history of the building, which was built in 1894. Chef Bruno Chemel's 12-course seasonal tasting menu takes the diner on a tour of the chef's abilities and includes decadent fare like foie gras and slow-roasted Mishima Ranch Kobe short ribs. For those with a more meager budget (the tasting menu is $120 per person), two prix fixe menus allow diners to choose a dish from each of three or four courses for $65 and $85 respectively.
Small Portions, Large Prices. Be sure to bring your own magnifying glass! The portions were too small to choke a toddler, but the bill was astronomical ($320 for the two of us). When we arrived home, my husband reached for the pizza and I grabbed a bowl of cereal. This felt like something out of a Seinfeld episode. We'll stick with Le Petit Bistro for our French fixes.
A Big Disappointment !.
We went to this restaurant, for the first time, to celebrate my birthday In February of 2008. Compared with other French restaurants, it was a big disappointment. To start with, the girl at the desk could not find our reservation and made us feel very unwelcome, until she found it.
As for the food, never have we paid so much for so little. All the servings, although tasty, were so small that we went home and ate a desert to feel even barely fed. ( And we are not big, obese, over eaters.)
The soup course had approximately 1/4 cup of soup, served at the bottom of a huge bowl. The chef's beginning " treat" consisted of one small cheese round about 1 and 1/2 inch in diameter and two salted radishes. on an otherwise long, empty plate. The first course contained one scallop topped with one shrimp. The meat was about 2 inches across and 3 inches long, and the vegetable ( I kid you not) was the leaves of one brussels sprout!! The between courses"Ice or granita" was about one tablespoon and the dessert, two small cookies!!! Most French restaurants give the diners at least a full meal. This was the "laugh" we have told to all our friends ever since that evening. We felt like ripped" off fools!
Chez TJ has fallen off track.
Have been to Chez TJ four times in the past 3 1/2 years for b'day and other celebrations. The first visit was smooth as silk, but subsequent meals have been less than stellar. On our last visit (Dec, 2007) the meal was mediocre at best. Being a vegetarian (with occasional seafood) in California is usually never an issue. Beware the vegetarian meal at Chez TJ. Prior to the visit, I emailed the restaurant and requested a vegetarian menu. No response. Once there, we were seated promptly, but in a small room with a large party. It was impossible to have a converation with the noisy group. We looked forward to when the group got their next course since it usually meant the room would quiet for a few minutes.
Consistently, the courses I received were much too salty. My partner had a similar experience with several of her courses. The main vegetarian dish was in a foamy, salty froth that left nothing to desire. It took a very long time to give our inital order. The service has changed from previous visits. The younger waitpeople do not have the class and finesse that the previous (older, presumably more experienced) waitpeople had. We go to new restaurants every week and try to find something to enjoy about each one. Unfortunately, Chez TJ has fallen into our "doubt we'll go back" category. It's a shame. A little creativity and quality taste in the courses (esp, the veggie menu), timely & friendly service, and consideration of a quiet location for a romantic event would help this restaurant get back on track.
Great wines. Dined on Friday, Nov 2 for anniversary dinner due to Michelin 2-star rated recently in the San Jose Mercury. Slight confusion when we checked in for our 7:00 pm reservation. 3 parties checked in at the same time, which should not be a problem for an experienced hostess, but another employee had to be called on how to read the computer to see what table we would be seated at...so strike 1. When we were seated, we received bread, water and complimentary appetizer. However, we had a fairly long wait to place our order...strike 2. Our waitress was friendly, explained the menu to us and we choose the wine pairing dinner. We received our wine for the first course but the first course came much later and we finished our wine with our complimentary appetizers...strike 3. The remaining meal was completed without any problems. Overall the service was "robotic"...they served us but it was like it was their job and we did not feel like a guest...the service was not rude but they could have been more cordial. The food was very good but with small portions...the wine was excellent. We will not return because we expected the overall experience to be excellent but the pricey menu negated the good points.
This emperor has very few clothes. If all you care about is the 2 Michelin stars, then try it. But if you want a wonderful dining experience, and especially the kind of service that one might hope for at this price, go elsewhere. We have lived in the Bay Area for 5+years and regularly enjoy restaurants such as La Folie, Chez Robert, Myth, Range, Quince, Aqua, Chez Panisse, Gary Danko, etc. Danko stands out because of its combination of innovative cuisine and perfect service. We live much closer to Chez TJ and looked forward to something comparable or perhaps even better, given the 2 stars and even higher price. Unfortunately TJ compares to those others in only one way: the food is unusual and challenging (you will probably taste something you haven't anywhere else). Other than that, I can't think how it earned those stars. The Michelin people must put very little weight on the actual dining experience. The attitude here is "We know what you should like, don't tell us what you want." There are 3 fixed-menu choices--poussin, pig and lamb in our case--and input from diners (eg whether they actually want their lamb sushi-grade raw) is NOT solicited. The menu mentions a vegetarian option, but our server made it clear by lack of enthusiasm that we should avoid it. The wine list is very short; diners are pressured to accept the recommended pairings. Apart from a sardonic French sommelier, the servers were local young people who rushed through high-speed memorized recitations of each menu item without looking at us to see if we understood. I ordered a glass of wine from one to start with, but it had still not arrived 10 minutes later when the first dishes came. I had to ask someone else. We did not have a single server, who could get to know us, but instead a succession of different ones. Dishes were whisked away from under us, in one case while we were still chewing. The sommelier came by at the end to ask if we'd like some port. We would--but our server had already gone away to ring up the check.
Outstanding food and service.
From the moment we arrived, the staff at Chez TJ made sure that our experience was fantastic. They were attentive without being obtrusive. The food was delicious and the restaurant setting beautiful. I especially enjoyed when Chef Kostow came by the table to talk to us.
The menu is playful and the dishes elegantly showcase the freshness and quality of the ingredients. My favorite was the raspberry and chocolate dessert. The slightly tart fruit was well complimented by the rich chocolate.
Impressed with service, quality and cuisine.. When I'm in town on business this is my "close the deal' venue. I count on the professional service, excellent cuisine and a private rooms to finish my discussions with VIP clients.
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