As a city that has more restaurants per capita only next to San Fran, Portland always seems to have room for one more–as long as it is good.
Petit Jacqueline, owned by the folks who run Five-Fifty Five, touts itself as a casual French Bistro based on the dishes prepared by the family’s grandmother. Located in Longfellow Square, the space is all at once chic, elegant and cozy. There are a number of tables outside as well, as long as you don’t mind a stream of traffic watching you eat.
At first blush the menu doesn’t have many veg options. There are some lovely salads and one gnocci dish. I usually pass on gnocci because they feel like little balls of Play-Do, but one reviewer on YELP! says they are the best he has ever had: airy and light.
I called ahead to ask the hostess if they could accommodate a Vegan patron. She assured me the Chef always has a Vegan meal in the kitchen should a request be made.
I started with the soup du jour: a chilled cantaloupe soup topped with a basil puree. It was slightly sweet and very refreshing on a 95-degree night. My second course was a ratatouille made from organic produce the chef picked up at the farmer’s market that morning. Served with a sun-dried tomato rice, it was perfect. For dessert, I opted for a bowl of fresh strawberries drizzled with honey-not Vegan, I know, but my sweet tooth was begging!
My omnivore dining partners all raved about their meals–ranging from scallops to cod to steak frites–as well. The service was precise and sweet and the wine list was elegant yet priced very reasonably.
Overall, I give it a big Oh-la-la.
For their menu and more information: http://bistropj.com/menus.php