Our second visit to The Butler and the Chef was a lot like our first visit in that we were greeted with a rather long wait from when we arrived to when we were seated. It was somewhere on the lines of 45 minutes. Instead of being wet and rainy, it was a clear day with cold winds blowing steadily as we waited outside for our names to be called.
The restaurant is pretty small with a casual French cafe vibe inside. Each of the tables have a unique look to it. I’m not sure what the logos on the tables represent, but there is a definite Euro feel to the furniture and decor.
Considering the small dining space, the tables were placed quite close together. A curmudgeon might call it cramped, but I like to think of it as cozy and intimate… kind of nice place to stroll on into on a lazy weekend morning for a leisurely brunch. Unfortunately, this place is so darn popular that it makes that prospect pretty much an impossibility, since you inevitably have to wait no matter time you get there. As you can see, I was hungry and ready for the food to come.
We decided to order the Onion Soup without the gratinée which was just the cheesy mix that normally tops the traditional Soupe à l’Oignon. The broth had some rich onion flavor, but I found it much too oily for my liking. It needed bread, croutons or some other kind of starch to soak up the oiliness.
The Belgian Waffle was light yet crispy which probably means that they used an awful lot of butter (according to our good friends Mr. and Mrs. CAsper). Although it might not have been good for the waistline, the waffles tasted very good in large part due to the addition of the fresh strawberries on top. They added a nice fruity flavor to what could have been some pretty plain tasting waffles. It was just the right amount of sweetness without sending my taste buds into shock. One Yelp review noted that the tiny serving of syrup wasn’t enough, but I really found it to be more than enough.
I was never interested in trying Croque Monsieur sandwiches, because I figured they were essentially fancy French versions of grilled cheese sandwiches, but the reviews on Yelp resoundingly complimented both the Croque Monsieur’s and Croque Madame’s. The former being made with Niman Ranch ham and Emmanthal cheese on organic white bread, and the latter being the same except with turkey instead of ham. The really tasty part of the sandwich was a layer of crème fraîche on the outer layer of one side that was grilled onto the sandwich. It gave a rich creaminess to the sandwich without tasting too heavy or cheesy. I had to really hold back from engulfing the entire sandwich by myself, because it was good. I may not be the best judge being that it’s my first, but both Pdho and I agreed it was the best Croque Monsieur we’d ever had.
Although I remember the Salmon Quiche I ordered during my first visit being pretty tasty, I can’t recall what Pdho ordered. My general sense of the food has definitely improved this time around mainly because of the Croque Monsieur. It really is quite delicious! I also ended up getting a croissant to go which was pretty fluffy and buttery. I really like this place and its location in South Park makes for quite a charming ambiance. If the weather would cooperate, I think it would be so nice if when this place expands, they add more outdoor seating. That would just complete the whole Euro vibe of this quaint little neighborhood cafe.
The Butler and the Chef
155A S Park St.
San Francisco, CA 94107
PAFO Ratings for The Butler and the Chef:
Price 2½ stars
Ambiance 3½ stars
Food 3 ½ stars
Overall rating 3 ½ stars