Cafe Bastille - Belden Place - San Francisco - CA
22 Belden Pl San Francisco, CA 94104 Tel: (415) 986-5673
date of visit Friday October 8th, 2004, 9pm.
Last night we were at Bastille again. After my previous review, I thought it was only fair to report back that last night's experience was a totally different and better one than the last.
I ordered the Special and Fred ordered the special Special. Last night the entree du jour was a bacon-wrapped fillet mignon with a fig sauce and potato gratin. The fillet mignon was a good piece of meat cooked perfectly to my medium-rare order. It was tender, juicy and tasty, espcially with the addition of the salty pork wrapping. The fig sauce was a little sweet. This made the bacon's part in proceedings even more welcome as a balancing act. The potatoes were ok. Neither bad, nor wonderful, they took a back seat.
When Fred is at Bastille and they have the Fillet on the menu, the only thing he will order is his special Special. He asks for the meat, medium, with a side of fries and some creamy pepper sauce. They always oblige him. Last night he was pleased by the extra bacon he netted too. The pepper sauce (which usually varies each time he has it) was, on this occasion, plentiful and very peppery-hot. It was little too salty for me, but I wasn't sure if the salt came from the Chef or from Fred's enthusiastic addition of the condiments.
date of visit Friday September 24th, 2004, 9pm.
I am a regular at Cafe Bastille. I know one of the owners. He treats us stupendously well, often pouring us a free drink and usually fetching us a complimentary appetizer plate of absolutely delicious grilled bread and serrano ham from B44, a few doors along Belden alley, to nibble on whilst we sit at the bar with an appertif before dinner. Most of the staff know me by name and rush to greet me with a kiss on each cheek when I arrive, so it pains me to report, therefore, that I find Bastille's food is often quite average, sometimes even worse. Last night I was served on of the poorest meals I have ever eaten at Bastille or indeed in any restaurant. My owner friend is on vacation so I'll have to wait a while before I can tell him about the pitiful lamb entree that I selected because they had just run out of the filet mignon special I'd otherwise had my eyes on. The lamb chops themselves were cooked, as ordered, to my medium rare specification and were hot and fresh tasting. There was no evidence, however, of seasoning, marinade or herbs on the meat suggesting a lack of imagination in the kitchen and inability to fuse coherent flavours together in this dish. The accompanying vegetables were so bad it was actually a relief that the lamb seemed to have been created in vacuum away from them, as they had not been contaminated by the pool of sour acidic sauce that I had expected to be a pinot noir thyme jus, or something to that effect. Large chunks of floury, dry, indelicate potato that should have been roasted but were barely browned on the outside were accompanied by a plethora of mushrooms, amongst them shitakes and oysters. For sheer volume alone, the fungi would have been a delight to indulge in had they not been annihilated by an over baking process that wrinkled and shriveled the poor champignons into tasteless reflections of their assumedly former, plump, tasty selves.
I quietly told the manager about my disappointment with this dish and he graciously took it off of the bill whilst providing complimentary glasses of Calvados for our entire party of four. The gesture was much appreciated but I hope it is matched with real desire to correct the problem in the kitchen. I hope the chef will be able to restore this, not inexpensive, $24 dish to something far more delectable and astonishing before Bastille's clientele all do a dissatisfied runner. Cafe Bastille - Belden Place - San Francisco - CA