What was meant to be a simple date night out landed us in the heart of France.

I wish. After downloading Open table app, my dinner companion has taken to being a serial table reservationist (trademark). And so Petite Jacqueline was just one of his smartphone victims.

Set on the corner of Market street, and with a slightly raised view of Portland’s famously infamous cobblestone pathwalks, you could almost feel like you were in Lyon. Except you’re in Portland, ME. And the menu is in English.

Steffy:

For starters, I had the French onion soup. An ensemble complete with a slice of brioche bread and gruyere cheese. The flavors were top of the tongue and more on the sweet side. While thoughtfully set up, It lacked depth in terms of flavor.  Also a large serving size, perhaps for two.

From the raw bar, I indulged in some clams. Complemented with cocktail sauce. Despite the waiter confirming that the establishment wasn’t entirely farm to table, I enjoyed a hint of sea that is always appreciated from fresh clams.

The duck, while cooked to order, missed a much valuable crisp on the skin. Intentional or not. The flavors were elegantly complemented by the sweet blueberry compote. The pudding was a tad bit dry and did not add much in terms of texture or character. The greenbeans added the much needed crunch, perhaps saving the entire dish.

The dessert was the prettiest part of our meal. The crust on the cheesecake left much to be desired, and the cream cheese was almost jelly like. Almost as if it had been stored for a while. My fault for ordering a cheesecake at a french restaurant perhaps?

F: 6.1

A: 7.0

S: 8.3

I was impressed with the bistro’s ability to create an unpretentious atmosphere. however I felt robbed of an authentic French restaurant experience. The food left much to be desired and the freshness of ingredients used was wanting. Pleased with our service who made the experience comfortable and was forthcoming and honest with information about the menu.

Sean:

As always skipped the starters and dove right in to the main. I thought this was one of the best meals I’ve eaten yet. While usually not a fan of bone-in chicken, the cuts  on this were cooked perfectly and remained moist. Light and balanced flavors from the jus with a delicate and smooth mash. Outstanding meal! Thoroughly devoured.

Anything with chocolate will be my first pick for dessert. Pleasantly surprised with the presentation of the dessert selection. I was happy with the torte but it was not memorable.

F:9.2

A: 7.8

S: 8.2

The food was very impressive and thoughtful in that the flavors all worked together. The quiet setting in a cozy location gives the illusion of a restaurant in France and the service was very attentive with good knowledge of the menu complete with recommendations.

Petite Jacqueline is a place of contrast. A modern American flair with French bistro tones. Perhaps not the most-european experience you could have, but with authentic highlights in the food. Recommended if you are looking to eat out but not entirely ready to give up the comfort of a home-cooked meal.

Overall FAS rating: 7.7

Bonus:

Accompanied by: Sean Welker, Serial Open Tabler and mashed potato connoisseur.

Petite Jacqueline website