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Comme Ca - Disappointing

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This is my 2nd time dining at Comme Ca, the first was for a saturday brunch. The food we ordered was light and refreshing. The formage was spectacular to say the least but last night's dinner was not the dining experience I was hoping for.

I started my night with the recommendation of many chowhounders, roasted bone marrow with oxtail jam. The bone marrow's taste was very suttle, it needed the rock salt to properly add flavor to it. The flavor was not as rich as other bone marrows that i've had. I considered the marrow light & safe. It was good, not great but it wasn't bad either. The oxtail jam on the other hand tasted like canned corned beef. It had the consistency of a stewed jerky, very chewy and the flavor was "off". I can't even describe how it tastes like, it seems like they were trying to make it a citrusy flavor but came up way short.

My wife ordered their famous soupe l'oignon gratinee, the cheese were plentiful, saltier in comparison of annisette's version, probably to mask the taste of the broth. It's like they didn't boil the broth long enough to get the desired flavor, it was flat, tasting like a consumme. The bread seemed lost as they were floating around as 3 rather than as 1 harmonous peice. The onion itself wasn't sweet, perfectly cooked but no flavor at all. My palette was spoiled by the richness of annisette's onion soup, the gruyere, bread, broth, and onion had equal flavor that did not overpower each one.

For Entree, I had the duck confit with braised red cabbage and flageolets. First slice of the duck thigh with my knife, you could tell it was dry. I wished I brought my camera to show how dry it was. Skin was crispy but once again, like the onion soup it was lacking any flavor. The highlight of this dish was the braised red cabbage and flageolets, the cabbage was soft and still retained with nice texture, the sweetness of it was a compliment with the flavorless duck. The flageolet's texture was nice, not chewy, not soft, just right.

The night's special was a lobster, shellfish bouillabaisse which my wife ordered. It had a bright red saffron base, plentiful selection of shellfish. Mussels, clams, big plump tiger shrimps, and half a lobster and claw meat. I was hoping this would be the big ticket for the night. When ordering a shellfish entree, you think sweet succulent flavors of the sea. We guessed wrong, though the shellfish was cooked perfectly, texture was beautiful, once again flavor decided to take a vacation from their kitchen. No sweetness was to be found anywhere in the entree. The saffron's base overpowered everything on it's place. It tasted like cough syrup (think purple benadryl) which was not really a good thing.

Overall, I like the restaurant's atmosphere.....that's it. Yes, it was very loud but Im used to dining in chinese restaurants so that didn't bother me at all. The food was a disappointment, I really tried to like Comme Ca but alas, a new king is in town and im taking my palette to Annisette Brasserie instead.

Food: 5/10.

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  1. I went once, a couple months back. I wanted to love it - liked the ambiance, bread/butter was excellent, menu looked like a carbon copy of Balthazar in NYC.

    Unfortunately, the food was bland and boring. Not bad, all edible, but nothing memorable. Deserts, surprisingly, were really mediocre. I had the bouillabaisse, which looked great, but had zero flavor - like red colored water.

    The "famous" cocktails were OK, but I'll take a kir royale over any of their specialty drinks.

    I'm in no rush to return, but would give it second chance

    1. I have to concur that I was disappointed in dinner the other night. This is definitely a lunch only place for me, or for when I crave a cocktail. Our service was very good and the noise level in the back room wasn't bad, but the flavor profiles just aren't there, especially in the entrees. The skate was one note and slightly over cooked, coq au vin was tepid and lacked salt, duck confit was dry and the bouillabaisse was good, but missing depth, even the rouille couldn't give it what it needed. And the wine list was very disappointing. Not a lot of selection and several errors/replacements on the list, which is a bit unforgivable when you have a wine director and 2 sommeliers on staff, with a small list to boot. The consensus from the out of town guests - not at all worth it.

      1. I actually like comme ca for brunch a lot. I was there again this weekend and shared the croque madame and french toast with a friend. I think the croque madame is one of the best versions I've had with a perfectly cooked egg and deliciously crisped brioche. Also really like the custrady french toast, although I do wish they could manage to crisp the outside a little so there is some textural contrast. I had a bloody mary which was an excellent version and, fortunately, not sweet at all this time (which is one of my absolute worst pet peeves about most bloody marys). Sounds like I may have gotten lucky. I wasn't so lucky at a late lunch there two weeks ago. We shared the J. Gold-lauded burger and the duck confit salad. The burger was completely overwhelmed by the mound of mayo-drenched lettuce on top and the meat itself had very little flavor or juiciness, even though we ordered it rare. The only thing I really liked about it was how the interior of the bun had been crisped. The fries accompanying it were awesome, though. The duck confit salad just didn't work. There was far too much blue cheese, the greens were overdressed, and there was no acid to cut the richness of the duck or cheese. The one on special at Father's Office sometimes is way better. Neither of us finished our halves of the burger or the salad. I'll be back, but only for brunch or for their late night cocktail hour.

        6 Replies
        1. re: mollyomormon

          I love the duck confit salad at FO.
          I had the croque madame for brunch at Comme Ca, my friend got the same. It was overcooked, practically burnt, we were both fighting with it, trying to cut it and then trying to chew it.

          1. re: slacker

            Hmmmm, sounds like Mr. Myers had best get himself back into the kitchen before his "bus" crashes and burns. Metaphorically speaking, that is.

            1. re: slacker

              I guess maybe I just prefer that highly crisped (read: pretty much burnt) crust on the croque madame. It seems like I'm in the minority on that one.

              That FO salad is ridiculous. Now I'm craving one.

              1. re: slacker

                I just had the Croque Madame last weekend, too, and I thought it was amazing. I'm with slacker and don't like burnt toast, but I thought the crispiness of the bread rounded out the mouthfeel of the sandwich by contrasting the soft egg and gooey cheese. If yours was almost burnt, then I guess the restaurant lacks consistency. Shame. The French toast, Croque Madame, and bloody Mary were each out of this world (but I, too, would prefer some crispiness to the French toast).

                1. re: PlatypusJ

                  I've already written them off, and now they just sound extremely inconsistent. As I posted on another thread, the bloody mary I had there was terrible: overly sweet and I never was able to taste--or even feel--the vodka.
                  On the other hand the bloody mary at Campanile wins everything! Made with roasted tomatoes and veggies, nice and spicy, so flavorful, wonderful.

                2. re: slacker

                  my dh's croque madame was the same. burnt.

              2. I've eaten at CC once and on that particular night it was good.

                The BEST thing about CC is the old school cocktails featuring house-made mixes and the finest spirits concocted by bartenders who know how to mix a real drink.

                1. Isn't it crazy how restaurants in this town go ...

                  My wife and I ate at Comme Ca about 5 or 6 weeks ago on our regular Thursday Night Date Night, and LOVED it.

                  She started with a signature cocktail that was deliscious, and then moved on to the Beet Salad with goat cheese, frisee, and pistachios, whichnwas SUPER tasty.

                  I started with the Oxtail/Bonemarrow dish and it was simply divine ... my only complaint was a tiny bit too much fleur de sel on the toast.

                  Next she had the Steak Frites, which was the only dish not loved (the steak ... I really enjoyed the fries). I, on the other hand, LOVED my Beef Paleron ... but then again I am a sucker for braised meats, and the horseradish pommes purée with it was great.

                  We had the Mac Gratinee and I thought it was some of the best Mac I've had in the city.

                  We sampled 3 desserts ... the Lemon Tart, the Chocolate Tart, and the Brioche Pudding, and all three were really scrumptious!

                  We rated it 8.75/10, with the deductions being noise, her steak, and a screwed up cocktail order for myself.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: a213b

                    I went a week ago and shared the GIANT seafood platter with some friends....shrimp firm but a tad touch and very balnd, oysters...really large, (not my thing) and a touch milky and half of the mussels were still closed when the platter was brought to the table...so not cool, those should have never been served. Liked the fries we ordered but they really needed more salt...don't think I would be back any time soon.

                  2. I have to agree a213b. I've read a lot of negative reviews about Comme Ca, but my experience there was excellent. The Sweetbreads appetizer was tasty, my Red Snapper was cooked and seasoned perfectly, and the Brioche Pudding was one of the best desserts I've ever eaten. I also tasted a bit of the Veal Shank and enjoyed that as well.

                    I'm not saying the negative reviews are wrong, but they're surprising given my great experience there.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ries27

                      I agree, it was delish. I will certainly report back the next time we go, and am hoping for a similarly satisfying and tasty experience.

                      The one thing I will say about restaurants out here is how disappointed I am in the general lack of consistency. Even at Myers' other restaurant, Sona, we had one meal that was AMAZING, and then a second that was pretty average.

                      Same with Melisse. It's a shame, really.

                    2. my dh and i had a similar experience at comme ca at brunch. the food was extremely lackluster.

                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/549436