La Note


Bay Area Reviews


A Caveat

Summary: Uneven food in a lovely dining room

Freedom! The girls and Mike were gone, and I was alone at home. If you are a mom of two little kids, you know how wonderful that feels. But it also feels somewhat lonely, so I ended up spending quite a bit of time with other people. Adults, mind you. I even had "conversations."

Friday I went to out to lunch with my Fiona. We went to Le Soleil, which is my favorite restaurant in downtown San Leandro, and had quite a good time. Saturday night (August 2006), I went to La Note with Regina. I had wanted to go there for quite a while, and when she suggested it, I jumped at the chance. It was a good idea, as we had a very pleasant dinner.

La Note has a lovely room - and on warmer nights, a lovely terrace. The small dining room is decorated with posters, knick-knacks and so forth, giving it a warm elegant-yet-very-casual atmosphere. The tables by the windows are especially nice, but the banquettes by the wall aren't bad either and they let you check out the action (unless you concentrate in your dining companion as I did).

The food is California-French with most dishes in the teens. There are several choices for vegetarians and for meaterians. In all, it's a lovely place to eat.

The meal started with very good bread and butter; the bread was the of the crusty brown variety and the creamy sweet butter reminded me of Argentine butter (but it's probably French). Unfortunately I ate too much - be careful, the main dishes are huge..

We followed this with the Crotin de Fromage de Chevre Cuits aux Noix, a fancy way of saying toasts with roasted garlic, goat cheese and Provencal tomatoes served on a bed of mixed greens. I've had the identical dish at Nepenthe in Big Sur, sans the tomatoes. It was quite good and it's an easy appetizer to make at home - I have to remember that..

I had been in the mood for a burger for a few days, so that's what I ordered, the pretentiously named Bagnat au Steak Hache Persillade, a burger with galic and parsley, served with aioli, Provencal tomatoes grilled onions and ementhal cheese (optional - about $12). It came with roasted rosemary potatoes. The burger was huge - or at least the top bun was huge - but the whole thing was pretty unwieldy. I have a pretty small mouth, but you'd have to have a Julia Roberts sort of mouth to fit the whole thing. I had to resort to knife and fork, but even then the burger had a tendency to slip from the bun. More disappointingly the burger wasn't very good. It had been cooked medium rare as I asked, but it just wasn't very flavorful - even with all the combined tastes. The thick wedges of rosemary potatoes, on the other hand, were comforting and flavorful. I don't think I'd order this dish again.

Regina's ratatouille, on the other hand, was perfectly cooked. It had a good blend of vegetables, and she enjoyed the dish very much. It was also quite large, and she took half home.

The portions were large enough that we didn't have room for dessert. I really don't know how anyone can.

We both had sodas with dinner (canned), and the whole meal came up to $50 after tax and tip.

I'd probably go back to La Note, just order something else.

La Note
2377 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, Ca
510. 843.1535