Petite Jacqueline

Petite Jacqueline is a bit of a paradox. You immediately wish you were more slender upon standing in the entryway, but you will soon and happily be stuffing yourself silly on baguette, butter, wine, steak, fries and aioli, all that is best in life. How can we reconcile such a galling conundrum? By ordering dessert, bien sur.

The next thing I noticed was all the busy servers wearing similar, but not matching, horizontal-striped, boatneck Breton shirts, which make everyone seem a little chicer and more rive gauche, like Picasso, or Jean Seberg in Breathless. We slid into our small table and took a look around. The decor is expected, though not hackneyed, posters and sconces that resemble early advertising disguised as art and gaslamps.

Our Cheshire Cat waiter brought Pellegrino and a bistro carafe of flat water, wine and a mini loaf of crusty bread in a paper bag with tangy herb butter straight away. The simple paper menu presents all the quite necessary things: onion soup, haricots vert, escargot, charcuterie, rabbit, and cheese. I already knew I had to have steak frites ($21) and Malcolm chose the salad Nicoise ($22), because a similar dish was a favorite of his at the related 555.

I started with a green salad ($5), enlivened with herbs and a lemony dressing, and delighted in its pared-down perfection, while Malcolm won the round with the soup of the day (MP), which was corn. Imagine eating sweet ripe corn, in a field under a warm sun, now add a burst of butter, sweet cream butter, and meld into all with your eyes closed the sensuous elements of your mind. To spoon this corn soup is to meet one’s God. No exaggeration.

Our dinners, they were very fine. Extremely well-crafted, best examples of basic fare. Each cube of tuna was seared immaculately; our only desire was that they were a little more integrated into the the salad, composed of olives, egg, potatoes, string beans and the rest. My medium-rare steak was dead on, seared well and melt-in-the-mouth. Oh, but then. That best portion of a good woman’s meal. Frites so lithe and narrow to call them shoestring would be an insult, crisped, crackling, and lightly drizzled with aioli.

We could not bear to have dessert. Once again thwarted by our earlier hunger and greedy eyes. Next time, the creme caramel. Yes, there will be a next time. The price is right for any evening a night out, its place in the neighborhood more than secured. Petite Jacqueline is bright and bustling, where you want to meet everyone you like to share a few bottles of wine and long conversations about nihilism.

Update! Petit Jacqueline has permanently closed its doors.

Jillian Bedell

Jillian Bedell is a writer and mother living in a farmhouse in Cushing, Maine. She is very good at talking about herself in the third person. She is co-author of Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road. She creates content on the internet, on subjects ranging from summer camps to semi-precious stones to the folklore of food. With Malcolm, Jillian was one of the original “Insiders,” for the Visit Maine tourism campaign. She loves telling the stories of her adopted state, finding out-of-the-way places, and people making interesting things. Watching her daughters play in the wild woods and fields of Cushing makes her very happy.


  1. We finally made it there the other night and really REALLY enjoyed ourselves and the meal.

    We called ahead to make reservations. While they couldn’t get us at a table the fabulous host said she would put two menus at the bar to “somewhat hold spots” for us. Lo and behold it worked and we were thrilled.

    Had the snails and foie gras as starters. Yummy!!!! My guy had the fluke– which was fabulous. I had food envy. Fish was perfection as were the beans and sauce.

    I had the steak frites. Steak was perfectly cooked as you noted. The fries were well cooked and fabulous in almost every way. They were SALTY!!! Nearly inedible and so salty that I couldn’t help put let our server know. She was apologetic and said she’d report back to the kitchen.

    Dessert was ok, not great. I had the peach crepe. I’ve had better. Not that it was bad. I ate every bite. I didn’t have a chance to taste the creme caramel as my honey had devoured it. Guess he liked it…. THUMBS UP!

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    1. Thanks for posting, Zsa Zsa…I didn’t notice an issue with saltiness on Jillian’s fries when we went, and that’s usually something I’m pretty conscious of. Hopefully, they were just having an off night in the seasoning department, when you visited.

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