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Jan 26, 2007 10:22 AM

Gregoire in Piedmont - Still Doing Things Right

Since I live in Berkeley, I don't make it out to the Piedmont Gregoire very often. After a wonderful dinner last night, I'm pleased to say that they still deliver the goods - delicious food made with organic ingredients at a very reasonable price. If you're seeking grass fed meat, organic produce and sustainable fish and poultry, Gregoire is the best deal in town.

Mrs. Mousse and I shared the Australian lamb chops with a garlic and herb vinaigrette. Gregoire's lamb is always incredible. It's very fresh, with a clean flavor, none of the "gamey" qualities I associate with meat that is less than perfect. The chops were cooked rare as ordered, and the dipping sauce went well with the meat.

We also shared the Moroccan style braised short ribs. Total comfort food, perfect for a cold night. The meat was just the right texture - fall off the bone tender, with enough substance to make for an enjoyable chew. As with the lamb, the flavor of the beef is out of this world. Gregoire uses a very high quality grass fed beef from Montana, and I've had few cuts of beef with such a well balanced flavor profile. The stewed vegetables rounded out the dish nicely.

We also shared the soup of the day, celery tomato. It had a deep celery flavor and a silky texture. The soups are always good, though I wish they weren't always vegetarian. Vegetarians have killed the soup of the day in Bay Area restaurants; so often all a soup needs is the punch of umami delivered by bacon or ham or chicken stock. Ah well, that's a topic for another thread.

Of course, no visit to Gregoire is complete without his famous potatoes. I was thrilled to see the scalloped potatoes on this month's menu. Everyone loves the puffs, but the scalloped potatoes are my favorite. Soft and creamy, with a crispy brown top.

Portion sizes are very generous at dinner time. A few hounds have complained about meat portions in the lunches. Personally, I favor a light lunch. But I can assure you, if you come to Gregoire for dinner, you will not go home hungry. We're big eaters, and we couldn't finish the potatoes.

We ended the meal with a tasty banana bread pudding.

The total bill for all of this delicious food was about $50. I can't think of another restaurant where I could get such a fine meal, with such good ingredients, and such spot-on execution by the chef, for $25 per person. I've paid twice as much money for food that was half as good.

I'm surprised the place wasn't busier. I guess it's just taking Piedmont a little while to catch on to this new gem. Seems like it would make a lovely evening to start off with a cocktail at the new Cesar, and then walk down to Gregoire for dinner.

The chef also mentioned to me that they've been doing a lot of catering, for both lunch and dinner. This is several steps up from most catered food, but their prices are still competetive.

I'll be sticking to the Berkeley Gregoire, because that's the one in my area. But if I lived near Piedmont, I'd be a regular.

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  1. Thanks for the review. Did you eat there or do takeout? And when they say limited seating available, do you go there and it's hit or miss if you get a table, and takeout is "plan B"? Which location has more seating? Thanks!

    7 Replies
    1. re: Cindy

      I, too, am curious to learn more about the layout relative to the Berkeley location...

      1. re: Cindy

        I usually eat there, so the food is hot (though the cardboard boxes do provide good insulation). Piedmont has quite a bit of counter seating, they can seat between 15 and 20. I've never had to wait for a seat in Piedmont (though it can get a bit chilly inside, so dress warm). Berkeley has very limited seating, and it is also the more popular location. I usually go to Berkeley during off hours, or fight for a table.

        1. re: Morton the Mousse

          Are you sure that the seating is between 15 and 20 in Piedmont? Because when I've been there, it's definitely seemed as though they can seat no more than 10.

          1. re: JasmineG

            Maybe it's closer to 10-15. Definitely more than 10. Like I said, I've never had to wait for a seat, so it's never been an issue.

            1. re: JasmineG

              I agree. People would have to be sitting on laps for 15, or even 12 to fit in there.

              MM: Are there any stellar sandwiches this month? Er, I guess it's next month now. I now have some days off during the week and can make it over there.

              1. re: oakjoan

                I just had the lamb patty and it was delicious. The meat patties at Gregoire are often the best thing on the menu.

                The lunch cook was raving about the pulled pork shoulder with Nueskes bacon, so that"s high on my list of things to try.

                I"ve enjoyed the smoked trout in months past. Very light and refreshing compared to the usual French fare.

                Next time you go there, do me a favor and count the stools. I swear, there are between 12 and 15: 8 at the counter, and another 6 in the nook by the window.

                1. re: Morton the Mousse

                  I was actually in a few days ago and counted the stools while waiting for my order. There were 15, but there isn't actually room for that many people, particularly in the window nook -- if it's full and people are eating, there's probably counter space for about 13 or so people.

        2. I have been to the Piedmont location many times and I'd say 10 is definitely a stretch. There is only counter space and it's tight--no tables can fit in that tiny space.

          1. Eating at the Piedmont Gregories is kinda a bummer ,but I do like to eat the food hot!


            I have a newish VW Camper so when I go to the Piedmont Ave.Gregories. me and my GF park up the street.

            Go pick up our food, go back to the camper with our fantastic food, our wine and music and a table for two with tablecloth and candle.

            Best table on the whole street.

            After dinner we head to a Movie or grab a ice cream

            We do it every month with the menu change.

            We eat like Kings and Queens...Never over $60

            1. Love the potato puffs, but I DREAM about the scalloped potatoes definitely not to be missed. I would find it hard for 10 people to eat comfortably at the Piedmont branch. Maybe if they are good friends.

              1. this is a wonderful review of one of my favorite places. i live two blocks from the Piedmont one, and i check the menu constantly for both the scalloped potatoes and the truffled potatoes. ive never had anything other then dinner entrees and potatoes; i think it's time to try the soupls.

                thanks, MtM!