Happy Valentine’s Day

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Sarah had been wanting us to try this little restaurant, Cajun Pacific, out in the outer Sunset, it’s right around the corner from her house. They”re only open on weekends and special days, so when we heard about their Valentine’s Day dinner, we signed up.

We entered a bustling square room and were immediately greeted by the hostess, “Marcus?” she said, and seated us at a corner table by the bar. The kitchen is at the back of the room and a bar divides the open kitchen from the dining room. There are stools at the bar, but only two are accessible. The dining room is crowded with seven occupied tables, about 20 people.

The hostess in a black sweater and an apron takes care of the front of the house and a blonde man with a ponytail, apron and shorts handles the kitchen. Conviviality is in the air.

For this occasion, we were presented a three-course prixe fixe menu, $40. The wine list had two reds, zinfandel and cabernet sauvignon, and three whites. We ordered a bottle of the zinfandel, $25.

Cajun red jalapeno muffins accompanied the wine to our table. They were moist and warm and spicy and a perfect starter to our Cajun evening. We got to know our wine while the first course was prepared. I don”t remember its name, but it was a robust zin, dry and not too fruity; a good choice for the food that would follow.

First course
chicken & andouille sausage gumbo (m)
oysters Kathryn (c)
crab cakes with beurre rouge & crispy shallots (s)

The first course was a big hit! The gumbo was perfectly seasoned and portioned just right for a first course. Carol received four Oysters Kathryn, grilled with a wine sauce and a thin slice of brie on top. Whoda thunk it? Sarah enjoyed two fat, moist and buttery crab cakes with a crispy crust.

Entrée
grilled day boat scallops on saffron risotto with beurre rouge and beets & greens (m)
filet mignon with sauce Porto and crispy shallots served with oven roasted red potatoes and asparagus gratin (c)
filet mignon with sauce Porto and crispy shallots served with beets & greens (s)

We eagerly anticipated the entrée course after the first course home run. My scallops were perfectly juicy and flavorful, but the risotto was more sticky than creamy and was mounded high, way too much for a perfect presentation and way too much for me to eat. The warm, sliced beets were without embellishment and without their greens. Rather bland. Both Carol and Sarah loved their steaks, but they were well on the medium side of medium rare. Carol’s asparagus and potatoes were just right.

dessert
bread pudding with whiskey sauce (mc)
pot du crème au chocolate (s)

Dessert was ordinary. The bread pudding was dense with only a hint of whiskey, but Sarah said of her pot du crème au chocolate, “Blissful creamy chocolate.”

Overall, the Valentine’s Day dinner was a big hit. Cajun Pacific is a fun place to be and we enjoyed the crowd and our hosts. It’s a good neighborhood restaurant in the Avenues and Sarah said she would spend some serious time there. Measured against Polk Street restaurants in the same price range (Street, Le Petit Robert, Rex, Au Delices), it falls short, but for Cajun with Sarah near the ocean, a good choice.

On a side note, Carol and I, not being dessert eaters, would prefer no dessert and a second first course in the case of a three-course prixe fixe menu, but this menu didn”t lend itself to that. Should have asked.

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