Last week the Dispatch staffers decided to get romantic and go check out what the little French Bistro, Petite Jacqueline, had to offer. I was a little worried that it was more of a couples atmosphere and we would feel out of place, but to my surprise, it wasn’t like that at all. There were couples, families, and friends dining, and the bar was completely full.
We sat down to embark on our first decision: wine. Petite Jacqueline has an extensive wine list, which was a bit daunting at first, considering the split opinion on red or white, but with the help of our waitress, a decision was made quickly. She recommended a soft Rose, and it was absolutely perfect accompaniment for the tasty journey on which we were about to embark. Next step: the menu. Petite Jacqueline has a menu that covers all tastes, including everything from escargots to deviled eggs to duck. The dishes weren’t too confusing for the average diner, or too overwhelming. The waitstaff were also extremely helpful in explaining menu details as soon as they spotted a wrinkle in our brow. Also, I am gluten free so there were plenty of options for the allergy conscious.
Instead of ordering an entrée each, we knew after a few moments of looking over the menu that we wanted everything. Literally. We started off with the cheese plate, deviled eggs, and onion soup. With the cheese plate we had a choice of 3 options from a long list of some mild to very strong French cheeses. We left the decision up to our waitress, who nailed it with a platter of delicious brie, a goat cheese, and a mild gouda, coupled with a blueberry jam and roasted tomato paste. The deviled eggs were presented as beautifully as you could possibly present a deviled egg; there was just the right amount of paprika and the yolk filling was unlike anything I have ever had. The onion soup was just the right temperature and the cheese, chive, and spice topping complimented the soup perfectly.
Next were our entrees; Steak Tartare, Gnocchi Parisienne, and Boeuf Bourguignon. The Steak Tartare was a bit slimy for me, I’m a texture freak, and didn’t enjoy it as much as most people probably would, although, the few bites that I did have were pretty good. The Gnocchi Parisienne was perfectly cooked in tarragon butter, making it sweet and comforting, and was mixed with asparagus, spinach, and spring onion. It was very filling, but in the very best way. Lastly: The Boeuf Bourguignon. My dad prides himself on spending all day making his version of Boeuf Bourguignon, so there was some competition involved when we ordered this dish. I’m sorry Dad, but this was the best Boeuf Bourguignon I have ever had. The Boeuf tasted almost like brisket, thanks to the southern-tasting marinade. Mixed with the boeuf were helpings of potato, carrot, celery, and mushroom. At this point I was full, but I still felt like I could eat this Boeuf Bourguignon for the rest of my life.
All in all, Petit Jacqueline had a great atmosphere; the lighting was romantic enough, but not too much (I didn’t get the sense that someone was going to pop out of the corner and propose to me). The staff was very friendly, willing to help—and let’s not forget they were dressed the part in their matching, striped Francophile shirts. The wine choice was perfect, and the food even more so. I would absolutely recommend Petite Jacqueline to anyone and on any night of the week.