Justine's or Chez Nous?
I'm looking at a new place for my birthday dinner, never been to either. Lots of bad reviews about the service at Chez, none at Justine's but I think I remember people complaining about the portions there. Anybody been to both?
I'd say both have better atmosphere than food. Chez Nous has a kind of cozy, charmingly dated vibe, if that makes any sense. I've never had bad experiences with the service.
Justine's has an excellent vibe– it feels exciting and is great for people-watching. Hip and lively, but has never felt pretentious to me.
Both have simple, patisserie type fare. If I had to pick, I'd say CN wins in terms of food, Justine's for atmosphere.
I can't speak to Josephine's. Never been. However, Chez Nous is French comfort food. Low key, friendly service. Bistro classics, but a very narrow menu. It's not a foodie place and as much as I adore the restaurant, I wouldn't call the food top notch by any stretch of the imagination. It's well done for what it is, but it is not a place for studied contemplation of what's on the plate. It's a place for relaxing, talking, or looking into a loved one's eyes while having a nice plate of food and a decent bottle of wine. Very good, but not great.
One additional note. I don't know how important the wine part of dinner is to you. CN has a nicely selected, very small list of largely inexpensive French wines. The meat of the list is bottles under $45 or $50, with almost none over $75. However, if great wine is critical, you can bring your own. I've occasionally brought great, mature bottles of red Burgundy when I've driven into town and had the time to raid my off site storage. But be sure to bring your own stems. Those at the restaurant are very basic.
Peche...Check out their menu online, with daily changes. Best cocktails in town. Best Charcuterie platter in town, also, imho...
My 2, fwiw. I have been to both and to CN about a half dozen times over the years. Remember that CN has been there for about 35 years so they must be doing something right.
I do not, however, consider them to be in the same class as far as restaurants go. Each has it's own characteristics, as others have pointed out, and each is good at what they do.
I found Justine's to have good and interesting food and will go back, but it is quite a drive from my place. It is a high energy, hipster place but that won't deter me.
I can recommend both places for what they do.