Restaurant: Du Jour
Address: 379 Lancaster Ave., Haverford
Rating: ★★★ out of 5 stars
Style: Soup/salad/sandwich shop with entree options
Food: Fresh ingredients
Atmosphere: Bright cafe in Haverford Square
Price Range: Lunch: $9 to $15 for entrees; dinner: $13 to $27
Parking: Free lot or metered spaces
Unique Feature: Cafeteria-style or sit-down option
When the calendar is overwhelming and the to-do list of the day has us worn, there are few things more wooing in this spring weather than the comfort of a cozy lunch shop.
Last week, Matt and I slipped into of . We had seen the inviting logo on someone's Facebook page, and after scanning the online menu had it pegged as an upscale diner (one of our greatest weaknesses!).
Our car parked in the adorable shopping center lot, we ducked in around 2:30 p.m. on a Tuesday, not knowing what to expect.
We stood in the doorway for slightly less than a minute, noting the vibrant color on the walls, sweet two- and four-seater tables with luxuriously comfortable chairs, and a beautiful granite dining bar at the entrance.
Matt said loudly, “Hello, we don't know what we're doing—it's our first time here,” to no one in particular.
A woman from behind the register spoke up to explain that Du Jour is cafeteria-style at lunch and we could place our order at the counter. She had noticed that we brought our 5-year-old along, and offered a verbal selection for a kids' menu. We were given a pager to notify us when the food was ready. With our cups for passion-fruit iced tea in hand, we found seating in the light of a gorgeous window store front.
While waiting the 20 minutes it took to prepare our food, we took turns walking around and using the restroom. Matthew discovered there was a sit-down dining room next door that looked lovely.
In all honesty, I was a little sad that no one had offered that as an option because I love to be served a meal!
The room looked like it would be fabulous for dinner reservations, with booths lining the walls and a few tables in the center for larger parties. It was tidier than the room we were eating in, which had quite a bit of debris on the floor from the steady flow of customers. We also encountered a slightly messy restroom which could have used more attention following a lunch rush.
The pager buzzed, and it was off to the counter to grab our food: today's sandwich special, the Spicy Roast Beef Panini with Onion Rings ($14) and my order of a Thai Pasta Salad and a cup of the Tomato-Basil soup. There were four Soup De Jour options on the menu that day, each priced at $5.25.
Before sitting down, Matt noticed the kids pizza we had ordered was quite burnt. He had started heading back to the line when the head cook kindly said, “Looks like that's a little overdone.” There was no issue in taking the food back and offering us a remake.
The tomato soup was our first indulgence. The carrot-tomato base was mild and soothing, and the texture was lovely, but it was missing the flavors that would make it memorable and give it that “wow” factor.
The Thai Pasta Salad was a surprise to us, with vermicelli in place of glass noodles. It was light and refreshing, while coated a bit too much in the mayo-based sauce. The veggies were nice, although we would have liked to see more of them throughout the $10 dish. And though the peanuts on top packed a nice crunch factor, we would recommend ordering the dish with another protein added, perhaps some shrimp (add $6).
We moved on to Matt's sandwich, the Spicy Roast Beef Panini, which he noticed too late was also quite burnt, the brioche possibly a little stale before toasting. The bites of the panini were full of a tender, well-flavored meat with a hint of horseradish sauce and melted pepper-jack cheese. Our preference here would have been more horseradish kick, and less time on the grill so the cheese didn't get a congealed consistency and the bread wouldn't be striped black.
The onion rings on the dish were outrageously crisp and yummy, paired well with a side of BBQ sauce for dipping. A steep $14 for that lunch dish, though, kind of left us wanting more.
When the re-do of the kids pizza arrived, it was much more presentable without the charred crust. Our boy had been greedily digging into our food awaiting his own plate, and he enjoyed the pizza just fine. Again, the price of $10 for a pizza that does not include a drink or any kind of side (chips or veggies would have been nice) is a bit pricey for our tastes.
We did some research to find a copy of the kids menu for ages 10 and under, and the range is from a $5 pasta with butter or marinara sauce to an $11 pepperoni pizza, all without drink or sides included.
We would definitely be willing to try Du Jour again in the future, with hopes of snagging a table on the full-service side and trying some dinner entrees. A cafe that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, markets a catering menu, and now a delivery option, Du Jour is working hard at finding its audience.
Perhaps a scaled-down menu with a more specific focus would bring this charming dining spot into its fullness and deliver a stronger and more consistent service to its customers.