Chez Jacques - A Taste of Paris

Our summer of guest brunch reviews starts with Nicole Adrian, a writer by day and a local food blogger for On My Table Blog on the side. She enjoys to cook, eat, drink and write about those experiences! Check out her blog or follow her on Twitter, @OnMyTableBlog

This Sunday, two friends, my husband and I did the Miller Lite Ride for the Arts. Before we even signed up for the ride, we decided brunch was a must-do after riding 25 miles. I wanted to go somewhere I had never been for brunch and somewhere that was close to the finish line at the Summerfest grounds. Chez Jacques, in Milwaukee’s Fifth Ward/Walker’s Point, fit the bill. I, as well as another friend out for brunch with us, had been to Chez Jacques for dinner a few years ago. From what we remembered, the food was good, the prices were right and the place was “cute.”

Fortunately, a few years later and much earlier in the day, the same holds true for brunch at Chez Jacques. Everyone’s food was very good, the service was great, the place was still “cute” and hopping with lots of people. I wasn’t sure how crowded it would be, as there isn’t much else in that area of town—at least that is open early on a Sunday—but the place was packed with families, other bike riders and couples and friends out for brunch.  

Chez Jacques includes a bar area with table seating looking out at First Street, plus a few dining rooms and a lovely outdoor area. Since it looked like rain was coming our way, we elected to sit inside. Next time, however, I’d love to sit outside in the fenced-in dining area.

We spent quite a bit of time trying to decide what to order. The menu has lots of good options—the biggest decision was deciding between sweet or savory. In the end, three of the four of us went for savory. The menu has lots to choose from: omlettes, crepes, sandwiches, croissant sandwiches, salads, gourmet plates, soups and quiches. There were six or so specials, too, including three quiches specials.

My husband, Nate, and I each ordered a Bloody Mary ($6). It was good—rather spicy, which is how we like them made—but nothing really special. It didn’t come with all the bloody Mary fixings you often see, other than a small green olive and a very small pickle. And, sadly, no beer chaser. (The glass was filled, by the way—I just forgot to take a picture until about five sips into it!) Really, this was the only slightly disappointing part of the experience.

Emily, the lone sweet tooth for brunch, ordered the poached pears crepe  ($7.95). It was very tasty and not overly sweet. In addition to the pears, the crepe included slivered almonds and whipped cream.  ($7.95) 

Leah ordered the vegetable and feta croissant sandwich ($7.75), which came with a huge amount of scrambled egg on top and fresh fruit on the side. The veggies inside included eggplant, roasted red pepper and zucchini. She also ordered a side of roasted potatoes ($1.95, not pictured), which were basic, but good.

Nate ordered one of the daily specials: smoked salmon and eggs drizzled with crème fraiche atop a huge potato pancake ($12.95). It was very good. The salmon wasn’t super smoky like it can sometimes be and the crème fraiche gave every bite a bit of a sweet taste. The flavors were perfect, and the portion was huge. 

I ordered one of the daily quiches ($9): goat cheese, leek and bacon. I normally am not a bacon eater, but the mention of goat cheese and leeks won me over. I’m very glad I tried it. The flavors were right on, and the bacon, which I normally find to be a too-overpowering, was great for the quiche. I’ve ordered quiche at other restaurants and find that it often tastes like it’s been sitting a while and it’s barley warm. Not this one—it was very fresh (the waitress said they make them every morning) and it was a perfect temperature. The slice of quiche came with a side salad and a great, spicy mustard dressing. We used it as dip for the potatoes, too. 

Overall, brunch at Chez Jacques was a wonderful experience. I will definitely go back. There is plenty more I’d like to try on the menu. The service was great, too. Our waitress was attentive and our water glasses were never empty. I thought the prices were good, although maybe a bit on the expensive side, but nothing too crazy.

What have been your experiences at Chez Jacques? What are some other good entrees? Respond below in the comments!

All the details you want to know: (on a five star rating)

Chez Jacques (****)
1022 South 1st Street
Milwaukee, WI 53204
(414) 672-1040
Chez Jacques on Urbanspoon

Brunch hours:
Sunday: Beginning at 10 a.m.

Atmosphere: **** (very good)

Food: ****½ (very good)

Service: **** (very good)

Drinks: ***
Mimosa - n/a
Bloody Mary - *** (pretty good)

Price: ***½ (pretty good)
Around $15 per person
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