Rue Saint Jacques disapointment
Based on reviews and comments from this board we headed to RSJ on Saturday night since we had another engagement that took us to Nob Hill. We didn't expect anything fancy, but did expect well handled bistro fare.
The room is small and a bit cramped as one might expect in a bistro. However, we ended up sitting at the end of the banquet and had what was surely the nicest and quietest table for two who prefer an intimate setting.
We started with the Duo Tartare, which consisted of a halibut tartare with crostini and ahi tartare on red Belgian endive leaves. The halibut tasted only of the olive oil that it was tossed with and the ahi tasted only of the bitter endive it sat on. When eating the ahi by itself it still lacked in flavor.
We then had the Dungeness Crab Risotto. It came from the kitchen in a moulded shape. This meant that it had to be extremely glutinous to hold its shape, rather than the rich creamy texture I so adore of fine risottos. It was not particualry warm, the crab flavor was weak, and the dish seemed dominated by cheese flavor.
I had the rabbit special, billed as a rabbit confit in a mustard sauce. The meat was dry, the mashed potatoes bland, the sauce looking as if had been thickened with corn starch, and veggies looking a small step up from frozen (peas, short cut green beans and baby carrots). My overall reaction to the dish is that all components tasted very similar to a hof brau turkey dinner.
My wife had the Coquilles Saint Jacques. The modestly overcooked scallops were in a weakly flavored clear broth. In with the scallops were the same veggies as were on plate. This dish was so boring and lacked any complexity at all.
We finshed with one of their limited but nice cheese selections. The only thing that accompanied the cheese was more of the same bread that was served with dinner.
Service was adequate and efficient. The server was able to steer us towards a bottle of white from their very compact list that served our tastes well.
Dinner with a bottle of wine was ~$140 including tax and tip. This was our first and last visit to RSJ.
I had a similar experience on my one and only trip to this restaurant a few years ago. Nothing was terrible, but nothing was done very well either.
I've always seen RSJ as a lovely neighborhood restaurant that I might frequent if I lived nearby or if SF's dining scene didn't allow one to be incredibly picky, but that doesn't make the cut as a destination restaurant because of the abundance of stellar eats in SF. Nice to go once, wouldn't return.