Dinner near JCC?
- pane Jan 24, 2007 07:43 AM
I'm going to an event at the JCC on California tonight. I'm never in this neck of the woods, so I'm not sure where to get dinner. The ideal destination would be within walking distance, $30-35 for two people, and fairly quick (we'll probably arrive at about 6:15 and need to be at the JCC at 7:30). The type of cuisine doesn't matter--we love it all.
We went to Ella's, arriving about ten minutes in advance of our 6:15 reservation. Our early arrival was no problem, because about two of the 40-something tables were occupied.
The menu touts itself as "neo-classical American cooking"; most of the entries were comfort food: short ribs, roast chicken, risotto--even a ham and cheese sandwich was featured. Based on the offerings, I thought the kitchen probably did simple best, so I ordered the roast chicken. My boyfriend had the butternut squash risotto.
The chicken was a hearty serving, plated alongside lightly dressed greens. Normally it is served with sweet potato fries, but I substituted polenta. The chicken was OK--the meat was moist and flavorful and I liked having a free-range option, but the skin was sub-par. I like a really crisp skin, and this was moist, almost damp, and really chewy. The salad was basic but good, and the polenta was way too salty.
The butternut squash risotto got an "OK" from my boyfriend. I enjoy beets, but the roasted, cubed beets served alongside the risotto were not complementary in flavor or texture.
The one item we both enjoyed was dessert--we split a bread pudding with a scoop of blood orange ice cream. The pudding was dense, warm, and flavorful, and paired well with the citrus zing of the ice cream.
Service was friendly and efficient. They substituted fries for polenta without batting an eye.
Total was $55, with tip, with one drink. Probably we won't go back. For me, the key to simple, somewhat home-style cuisine like this is spot-on execution, and Ella's disappointed.
Ella's breakfast is amazing - huge portions. Didn't know they did dinner. Yes, Osteria is supposed to be good. Also convenient, but possibly out of your price range, 415 (which is actually in the JCC building) and Garabaldi's on Presidio (one of my faves in SF).
I would recommend Ella's and have but the JCC has a diner/ restaurant more NYC style diner that has good food. Good pastrami sandwiches and other great eats. FYI