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Architecture to Chocolate: Drawing from Inspirations

August 29, 2009

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Puerto Rican Food Experience Part 1: Lessons from Jose Enrique

May 15, 2014

This year, I’ve been thinking more and more about the idea of opening up a retail location for Jade Chocolates.  Thoughts have run through my head on how to get funding and where the ideal location in San Francisco would be.  I’ve estimated start up costs, spoke to others who have already taken the leap, and so forth.  I have imagined what the space would look like if I had an endless pool of money to draw from.

 

And as I can never seem to take a complete break from work, all I could think about while on vacation was getting a physical location for Jade Chocolates and whether the possibility of a chocolate inspired restaurant would be a dream turned into reality. We were told by a several locals that the food at Jose Enrique was not to be missed. During this dining experience, I couldn’t help but to wonder……..What makes this a great restaurant?  Here’s my take on the reasons for it.

This pink building was included as CondeNast Traveler Magazine’s list of 105 best new restaurants.

 

1. No Curb Appeal. It took us two nights to find this place as the exterior doesn’t look like a restaurant at all. Instead Jose Enrique’s facade resembles a modest home where a never ending house party is being thrown.   We’re not sure if this was done purposefully, but once you find this place you feel like you’re in the in-crowd.  As a tourist, you feel like you found a hidden gem.

2. Skip the Paper Menus.  Jose Enrique uses white boards as menus and props it on a chair near your table.  At first thought, it may appear rather unusual but the white board method certainly has its benefits. The waiter took his time to explain, in detail, every dish on the menu. He shared how they were prepared, where the ingredients came from and even a story or two on how some of the dishes got their names.  By the time he was done explaining, you almost felt obligated to order something from the three menus (appetizers, main entree and dessert). INGENIOUS. And since the waiter was there to quickly answer any questions we had, it made it easier to make a decision.  Also, I’m told, it allows for the chef to add and delete plates during service.

 

3. Great Food. All three plates that we ordered were delicious and beautiful and defin