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Café Bleu

Mushroom Vol-Au-Vent

Beef Short Ribs
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Ahhhh, you gotta love the French. There are so many restaurants in San Diego that deliver the goods with amazing flavors and nuances. Then there is French cuisine. The sauces, the history, the wine. The French aren’t known for their culinary feats for nothing. Just ask Julia Child (or rather read her cookbooks). Café Bleu offers fine French dishes that would make even Julia proud.

Having opened just under a year ago, Café Bleu has added its distinct allure to the already eclectic Hillcrest neighborhood. The venue is a small, intimate gathering place for food and wine lovers alike. Whether you’re seated at the quaint open bar chatting with friends or in its fanciful dining area, feeling cozy is what you will find at Café Bleu.

The interior has a deep red décor, dark around the edges with soft lights quietly guiding your way. If you are planning for a secret rendezvous, this is the place to go. There is even a dining couch area for the ultimate comfort. Being our first time at Café Bleu, fortune seemed to smile on us as it was a Tuesday night and Tuesday night is 50% off any bottle of wine night. Yes, fortune was indeed smiling on us. We settled on a favorite, the 2005 Tobin James Syrah, which hypnotized us with its deeply alluring fruit and spice bouquet.

Petite Gorgonzola Filet Tips
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As we glanced over our menus we were pleased to see the relatively moderate prices of the entrees. This always starts the evening with a smile and a comfort zone. Wonderful, crisp bread arrived at our table that we hungrily enjoyed. That said, we ordered a few of the “starters” to calm our demanding tummies. Mushroom Vol-Au-Vent (puff pastry, wild mushrooms sautéed in herbs, garlic & white wine with mushroom cream, truffle oil and shaved parmesan) that was warm, bursting with delicate subtle flavors. Also, the Petite Gorgonzola Filet Tips (filet mignon tips topped with gorgonzola with sautéed garlic spinach, roasted shallots and demi glace and chili oil) that mesmerized us with its tender, savory taste. Lastly was the Corn Chowder with Blue Crab which warmed the soul but we must say was more a puree than chowder and was, sadly, a bit bland.

Peach Melba
Copyright©2008 sandiego.com, Inc.

Easing into our entrees we eagerly awaited our servings of Beef Short Ribs (vanilla & black pepper wine-braised short rib, reduced braising sauce with fresh vegetables and Yukon potatoes) which was an elegant, smoothly rich meal. The amazing flavor of the sauce and ribs was so delicate and tender. The accompanying veggies and potatoes decisively completed the meal. This being a French restaurant we simply had to order their Coq Au Vin (slow-cooked wine-braised chicken with Yukon-gold mashed potato brulee). Now this is a classic bistro dish and one that must stand up to time long tradition. It was ok, not the best we’ve ever had but it certainly played with our palettes with its flavorful pungent seasonings and the creamy potatoes were nice. We’d probably take a pass on it the second time around.

Okay, so the French are also know for pastries so ordering a dessert was not even up for discussion. We made swift work of the Peach Melba (poached peach topped with a raspberry sauce, toasted almonds and vanilla gelato) that was worth every calorie it added to our mid-section. It was also topped with the most amazing cremefrarche. Just wonderful.

Café Bleu offers a satisfying taste of well prepared French cuisine in an equally quaint setting that really takes you away from the world outside its doors. Enjoy!

The Good – love the 50% of Tuesday wine night. It lets you indulge in a finer vintage than you might have. Lovely setting and service as well.

The Bad – while we loved the ambience it was so dark it made it very difficult to read the menus and some of the dishes could use a makeover.

Details »
  • City: San Diego, CA 92103
  • Phone: 619-291-1717
  • Name: Café Bleu
  • Address: 530 University Ave