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French Blue [Saint Helena]

t
tatuaje68 Feb 4, 2013 02:36 PM

I haven't been able to find any posts about French Blue in St Helena since it was announced that Phillip Wang was opening there.

Is it a worthwhile place for lunch or should I go to Cook or somewhere else?

  1. wolfe Feb 4, 2013 04:03 PM

    Couple of posts recommending French Blue.
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/888498#7868665
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8848...

    4 Replies
    1. re: wolfe
      t
      tatuaje68 Feb 5, 2013 12:20 AM

      Thanks Wolfe,

      I actually had read both of those posts but didn't remember the reference to French Blue.

      G &G was also mentioned for lunch and for some reason I thought they were only open for dinner. I might decide to go there instead.

      Thanks again

      1. re: tatuaje68
        CarrieWas218 Feb 5, 2013 07:38 AM

        I've referenced G&G because it is one of the few places that stays open throughout the entire day; many eateries will have lunch-only and dinner-only dining hours.

        I've been very impressed with G&G and am sorry I haven't made it to French Blue - which might be breakfast tomorrow morning!

        1. re: CarrieWas218
          t
          tatuaje68 Feb 5, 2013 01:48 PM

          Thanks Carrie,

          I made a reservation for G&G

          1. re: tatuaje68
            CarrieWas218 Feb 6, 2013 05:50 PM

            Okay, the bro-in-law and I had breakfast here this morning...

            It was perfect. Absolutely perfect. And I really, really wanted to like it but was ultimately very disappointed.

            Aesthetically, the atmosphere of the room and plating of the food were delightful. The restaurant is open and bright with its vaulted white-washed wood ceiling and blue-and-white ticking-striped cushions with warm, brushed tin accents. The waiters were charming and service was exemplary.

            We shared a Cowgirl Mt. Tam Omelet with King Trumpet mushrooms and spinach ($14) and Chorizo with baked eggs and polenta with sauteed Swiss chard. ($13). I asked about the daily Baked item; fresh lavender scones. I love a sweet bite with breakfast and thought if it was too much food, some could easily be taken home.

            The omelet was a classic, perfectly-prepared French egg concoction; incredibly light and rolled into several layers with the melted cheese, all of which sat atop the sauteed spinach and mushrooms. But those additions were minimal; ten spinach leaves and maybe eight mushrooms total - more a garnish and certainly not enough to have a bite of each with every taste of omelet.

            The baked eggs came in a cast-iron skillet, redolent with polenta but, again, the chard component was more of an after-thought than an integral part of the dish. The chorizo - house made - was spicy and moist, which was appreciated. The waiter indicated they have had to tone down the spice as it was too hot for many to eat.

            The scones were lovely; flaky with a hint of lavender which did not overpower. We were served two - warm from the oven - but we had to ask for butter and jam. We also ordered coffee and I had a glass of fresh pink grapefruit juice.

            So, the clincher is this: All above, with tip, came to $60 which is quite a bit for breakfast. And the quality was evident; in the plating and the ingredients. But it was a bit too reminiscent of what one would expect for dinner service in its haute-ness and pretentiousness. For breakfast, it was a bit too twee and completely lacking chi. Thinking it would be more on the side of "country French," I found it aspiring towards a perfunctory obligation to it's clientele: the uber-elite of the wine industry and the tourists with too much money. They are advertising themselves as the "all-day neighborhood restaurant," and I suppose if you wear Bruno Magli or Jimmy Choo shoes on a daily basis and have a personal shopper at Nordstrom or Saks, then - yes - it is a neighborhood restaurant.

            I admired the omelet and my bro-in-law asked how to make such a perfect omelet at home. It was gorgeous but when it comes to breakfast food, I think my expectations go towards the American versions of overkill to the point of expecting sloppiness and comfort food. This was neither.

            A week ago, I had brunch at Plow in the city and for the same $14, I got soft scrambled eggs with fava beans and mushrooms, crispy potatoes (AMAZING potatoes, actually), and toast. Really good toast, at that, with their house-made jam. At French Blue, there are no potatoes or hash-browns with your omelet and neither dish came with any bread, but both could be ordered for an additional $2.50 each - making my omelet with potatoes and toast a $20 breakfast before coffee, tip and juice.

            I am sure what they do for dinner is quite exceptional as the standards of excellence are certainly there. It just didn't do it for me...

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