Fuzzy Food 

On the menu the food sounds good, but on the palate Du Jour's food lacks focus.

We ate in an off-white room, surrounded by mustard-yellow paintings, conversing over the din of a roaring air duct covered in dust. The waitresses buzzed by occasionally, asking over their shoulders if we needed anything. The hostess couldn't tell us what the specials were. We felt as if we might be out of focus.

There is one thread that ties the food at Du Jour together. It weaves through the menu like a trail of popcorn showing you the way into and out of a misty cave. It is beurre blanc (say: burr blanc), and you better get used to it if you're planning on eating there very often. Herbed beurre blanc was drizzled over the appetizer, asparagus and smoked salmon in puff pastry ($7). Notice the use of the word "in." It is a falsehood. The salmon was scattered about and underneath two packaged puff pastries with some asparagus heads. The sauce was bland. The salmon was dry. They were out of the peppercorn pate ($6.50). When your menu is brief (three appetizers and one soup) you shouldn't run out of anything on a Saturday night. The soup du jour ($4.50) was an asparagus bisque on both of our visits. It was adequate, but my mom won't be receiving a letter extolling its virtues.

Soon, salads were served. I had a bit of both the spinach salad ($6.50) and the mixed greens with artichoke hearts ($6). The spinach was piled high with scant amounts of strawberries, toasted almonds and brie scattered about. It was accompanied by a supersweet berry vinaigrette which overpowered the almonds, hid the brie and rendered the strawberries a moot point. The mixed greens and hearts came with an herb dressing. Ho hum. The presentation was sloppy owing to an overabundance of greens in both cases. The dressings tasted like they were poured out of gallon containers and were served in plastic ramekins. I hate these things. When you're charging $6.50 for a salad, and $18 and $19 for entrees, you simply shouldn't be serving anything in plastic. You might as well as set your table with plastic utensils.

Of the 10 entrees on the menu, I tasted four plus the special on one evening. The lime-grilled tuna was covered in a crab beurre blanc ($17). The blanc was so loaded with lime juice it made me pucker. The grilled salmon special ($17.50) came with a citrus beurre blanc. Terribly sour, it was the ruination of an already dry piece of fish. The Creole seared sea scallops ($17.50) were served with a tomato beurre blanc. The scallops were overcooked, and the sauce was overly tangy to the point of being, yet again, sour. I had the grilled filet with crab and lemon-grass sauce ($19.50) on one occasion. It was respectable, but just. The roasted duck ($16) was served lukewarm with raspberry sauce. It was passable, but just. Nearly all entrees came with the same sticky rice pilaf a la Uncle Ben.

Du Jour is a middling restaurant. The entrees could warrant the prices, but as prepared and presented they don't. The service is moderate. The staff seems disaffected. The room is drab. It seems to me that there is a lack of focus that pervades Du Jour and is apparent throughout the dining experience. S

Du Jour ($$)

5806 Grove Ave.


Lunch: Monday - Saturday 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Dinner: Monday - Saturday 5:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.

Brunch: Sunday 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.


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