In hopes of an authentic French experience (as in owned and operated by a French expatriate) our quest lead us to JJ’s Liberty Bistro in Ponte Vedra. Although we’d passed JJ’s Bistro de Paris on Gate Parkway many times and had wanted to try it for a while, we thought it best to visit the Ponte Vedra restaurant first because it is the original and is where owner-operator JJ himself works. Most items on their lunch menu are under $10.
JJ’s Bistro, which is far cuter on the inside than its strip mall location implies, goes beyond the scope of a regular restaurant. It doubles as a wine, cheese and baked goods store and you’d be hard pressed to find as much variety and quality elsewhere (especially in the cheese department).
The salad nicoise: spring mix with tomato, hard boiled egg, fresh tuna, green beans, red potatoes, kalamata olives and anchovies, was beyond wonderful. Light yet filling and incredibly delicious. The anchovies are optional but I’d highly recommend their inclusion. Their saltiness and pungency compliment the crispness of the other ingredients.
I can’t vouch for the onion soup although I take it on good authority that it too was delicious. I did, however, get to try the cheese that stuck to the outside of the bowl and I’d gladly embarrass my wife again to pick away at that delicious glue.
Breaking with convention, we actually indulged in a dessert: a macaroon. I must say, even as a habitual dessert avoider, it was quite divine and I can imagine it would please even the most notorious confection snob.
As an added bonus, JJ himself came and talked to us (he seems to chat up much of the clientele) for a bit about some upcoming wine dinner events. He’s a stand up guy; passionate, knowledgeable and engaging. The wine dinners sound fascinating and I’d definitely like to try one in the near future.
(904) 273-7980 JJ’s Bistro de Paris 7643 Gate Pkwy #105, Jacksonville, FL 32256