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Mar 6, 2008 04:24 PM

Clementine report

My husband and I had dinner last night at the new Clementine. We were big fans of Clementine under Didier Labbe, and were very excited to try it under Philippe Gardelle. We were very impressed!

We were happy to see the same staff there, behind the hostess stand, behind the bar and on the floor. The restaurant looks very nice with a fresh coat of paint, although we noticed it looked a bit bare compared to the old space due to the lack of artwork.

As for dinner, we really enjoyed our meals. We have never dined at Chapeau! (much to my chagrin), so everything was new to us. We started out with a glass of champagne and also ordered a half bottle of wine - very happy to see half bottles on the menu! The wine list wasn't as extensive as the old restaurant, but it had great selections and I think the prices were fair. The bread was the same as the old Clementine - fresh and wonderful. For our appetizers we had the Mesclun Salad with Creme Dijionaise; Red Grapes, Pistachio, Fried Camembert & Walnut Bread and the Deep Fried Black Tiger Prawns with Shredded Phyllo Dough, Tomato & Onion Marmalade, Petits Legumes, Herbed Aioli. I felt the creme dijionaise was a bit sweet for my taste, but my husband loved it. The fried camembert was delicious!! Perfectly done as it is in France (although there it is usually goat cheese). The prawns had a nice flavor, and the marmalade and aioli were very nice accompaniments. I then had the Day Boat Scallop, Butternut Squash Risotto, Lemon-Honey Beurre Blanc for my entree, which was excellent. The risotto had a nice sweetness to it and was the perfect portion in relation to the 3 jumbo scallops. The risotto was a little richer than expected, but was still delicious. My husband had the Bacon Wrapped Veal Medallion with Crispy Sweetbreads; Chestnut "en Puree", Baby Carrot, Veal Demi-Glace which was cooked medium rare and was very good. The sweetbreads were lightly fried with a nice flavor and the chestnut en puree was excellent. We ended with some coffee and for dessert the Coffee Pot de Creme, which was to die for! Very rich espresso flavor, very creamy and served with two small vanilla cookies.

Of note, we read some time ago that Gardelle was going to keep a couple of Clementine signature dishes, but that was not the case. We were a little disappointed that the Warm Blue Cheese Tart and Pain Perdu were not there, but when we asked the waitress, she did say the menu is a work in progress and those items might be appearing sometime in the near future. We would also like to see the classic Steak Frites on the menu.

Philippe made it a point to greet each table and also poured our wine, with a testing glass for himself. It was nice to speak with him for a bit - he is very cordial and seems very happy to be there. Overall we had a great meal and look forward to going again soon!

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  1. Nice report ... thanks

    Clementine Restaurant
    126 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118

    1 Reply
    1. re: rworange

      Sorry I forgot the link! Forgot to mention cost: the total came to $133, w/o tip.

      I also noticed on the menu a 4 course deal for $54. When I inquired as to what the 4th course is, the waitress said it was a tasting of either the scallops or the other fish entree, in addition to your appetizer, entree and dessert.

      There is also going to be a prix fixe from 5-6pm (not very long!) on all days except Fri & Sat for $32.

    2. We ate there last night and loved it. I won't do a dish-by-dish report except to say that the Mussels Soup was to die for delicious; I second the review of the Mesclun Salad that meggie T describes; only mis-step on food were the potato chips that came with my Guinea Fowl -- for me to leave potato chips uneaten, you know they are nothing special, plus they didn't suit the dish; service seemed somewhat slow, particularly as we waited to order wine (but since the 3 of us managed to go through 2 bottles they weren't THAT slow). Three of us each had 3 courses, and as I mentioned 2 bottles of a $55 French wine (sorry, BF does the ordering, I don't recall what it was but we all thought it was a great value), and the portions were ENORMOUS. All for $268 pre-tip. We got there at 6:30 and noticed a demographic shift from boomers like us (and older) to younger people by 8:45 when we left. But a full, happy house on a warm Tuesday night. Can't wait to go back.

      1. Thanks for the nice write-up. We used to love Clementine - haven't yet been to Chapeau! either, so we will be looking forward to the new Clementine!