Elite Café: Bayou by the bay

I’ve been just dying to go to the Elite Café ever since we learned that Joanna Karlinsky, formerly of The Meetinghouse, had taken over since the renovation. We loved us those Meetinghouse biscuits and jams, yessir. So we made a brunch excursion on Sunday. (When you live in Noe Valley without a car, Pacific Heights may as well be Palo Alto It’s a field trip.)

The first thing that strikes you about the Elite is the space — airy, lofty and nattily appointed in Art Deco details, it’s elegant and understated, comfortable yet still a little bit dressed up. Having made a reservation, we were treated to one of the high-backed booths on the side, which although a little tricky to get into, make for a nice, intimate dining experience. The downside is you can’t see when a server, or anyone else for that matter, is coming.

We of course ordered up a couple biscuits and some sausage gravy (they come with orange butter, but that was only going to take us so far). The biscuits lived up to our memory — flaky, buttery, scrumptious. The sausage gravy was … good, chunky but a tad on the bland side.

Based on our server’s recommendation, I went with the small serving of the seafood jambalaya, Paul had the pulled pork sandwich and we split a salad of romaine hearts with a lemon-caper dressing. The jambalaya was again solidly good, with a nice dark roux base. They thoughtfully provided one of those microscopic bottles of Tabasco, every drop of which was needed to bring the spice level up to bare minimum in my book. Paul’s pork was great texturally, but again underseasoned, needing a touch more sweetness and quite a lot more vinegar, at least to our tastes. But the same could be said of the cole slaw that came with. The salad was initially underdressed (and again underseasoned) — until DPaul found a gob of the stuff neatly tucked within one of the romaine leaves.

Still, the service was both attentive and attractive (mind the hunkorama bartenders!) and the experience overall is a pleasant one. They just need to step up to the plate and fulfill their Cajun heritage. Spice it up, folks!

Elite Café
2049 Fillmore St (at California)