Chez Panisse Cafe Restaurant Review, Berkeley
Posted by Foodnut.com
Chez Panisse Cafe is the lower cost, a la carte menu restaurant upstairs from famous Chez Panisse. We visited the main restaurant Chez Panisse downstairs in 2012 and reviewed it. Alice Waters started a food revolution here, way back in 1971. She strives to serve only the highest quality products, and only when they are in season. All produce, meat, poultry, and fish come from farms, ranches, and fisheries guided by principles of sustainability. This restaurant has produced many famous chefs that have gone on to start their own restaurants.
17% service charge applies to both floors. Each floor has its own kitchen.
Decor, Vibe – Chez Panisse Cafe is located in a non-descript building facade. Lots of exposed wood with ornate decorations and fresh flowers all over. Folks in their 30′s to 50′s were dining.
Chez Panisse Cafe Menu Pictures (Click to zoom into any picture)
Little Gems lettuce with green goddess dressing and beets ($9) was simple but very good. Very fresh greens and tart beets tossed with a light dressing.
Baked Andante Dairy goat cheese with garden lettuces ($10) is a classic with 2 large delicious baked cheese nuggets and some very simple but tasty greens. The goat cheese was not to heavy in flavor, yielding a subtle balance.
Pizzetta with tomato sauce, Monterey Bay squid, and aïoli ($15) was not as good as Cheeseboard across the street, but was cooked well. Not soggy, not crispy, solid ingredients, balanced flavors, nothing flashy.
Northern halibut in saffron broth with cannellini and fava beans, rocket, and rouille ($28) looks weird in the picture as it was poached, making it very healthy. On its own, the fish was on the bland side. Combined with the beans and rouille, the fish came to life.
Grilled Becker Lane Farm pork loin with snap peas and polenta ($26) was excellent. Tender, thinly sliced, perfectly cooked, medium rare pork loin with lots of natural au jus.
Wolfe Ranch quail roasted in the wood oven with asparagus, new potatoes, and herb salsa ($25) had one huge perfectly roasted quail dripping with juices. Some of the skin area was a little salty. The asparagus was super fresh and very crunchy.
Crimson rhubarb tart with strawberry ice cream ($9.75) had some pretty sour rhubarb. The tart had a real nice crust to it.
Neopolitan ice cream bombe with Catalan Farm strawberries ($8.75) was a delicious 3 flavor ice cream cream with fresh strawberries. Pretty good quantity on the ice cream cake. It only lasts until they run out of their limited supply each evening. Yes it was someone’s birthday.
Chez Panisse Cafe had very good service with the waiter or a bus boy not far away. Prices in the cafe are reasonable for the quality of food you receive. The food is super fresh, flavorful, cooked well, health, and unburden by heavy sauces. We came in with low expectations, having read many marginal reviews, but left as believers. The food in the cafe was simple but excellent. You could make most dishes at home, if you could buy the ingredients and cook as well as they do!
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