Rouge et Blanc

Overall Rating: 5.050

Address: 334 Grant Ave.
Cross Street(s): Btwn Bush & Sutter Sts.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94108
Neighborhood: Union Square
Phone: 415.391.0207
Hours: M-Su 8am-10pm
Type of Establishment: Bar
Cafe Rating: 5.80
Barista: 3
Savvy: 4
Ambiance: 8
Presentation: 8
Consistency: N/A
Espresso Machine: Faema
Coffee Rating: 4.30
Aroma: 5
Body: 3
Brightness: 4
Crema: 6
Flavor: 4
Taster's Correction: -0.5
Size: XL
Primary Taste: Warming
Coffee Beans: Illy
Cup Manufacturer: IPA
Price: $2.00
Last Update: 03/04/2011
First Reviewed: 03/04/2011
Notes: Outdoor Seating

Chef Laurent Manrique and the team at Caf´┐Ż de la Presse established the coffee and wine bar Rouge et Blanc, which is not to be confused with the wine bar Blanc et Rouge in the Embarcadero. If that isn't confusing enough, wait until you get in here. It's a coffee bar by day, wine bar by night. The space is very lounge-like, with lounge tables and seats. There are marble counters at the windows with stools to look out at the foot traffic below the Grant Ave. Chinatown gate. Behind the counter, when you can get through their rather miserable service should there be any lines, you'll notice a shiny chrome, classic, two-group Faema E61 machine. It's a thing of beauty to look at, but it's not employed well here. Large cans of Illy beans feed Mazzer grinders, and the Illy branding is down heavy to even the front parasols on the sidewalk seating. Using the Faema, they pull overflowing shots of espresso in designer Illy IPA cups. There's an even, pale crema that covers the surface of the thin espresso - representing Illy beans stretched well beyond their limits. With a thin flavor of mild spices watered to weak drip coffee with a token, Nespresso-like crema to be the only evidence they were trying to make espresso here. It almost screams to what a French restauranteur would come up with when they think of espresso: not good.