331 1st Ave N. (just W. of 3rd St.)
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250
Lunch: 11am-2pm Fri - Tues
NO LUNCH SERVICE ON WEDNESDAY OR THURSDAY
CLOSED WEDNESDAY. Available for catering consultations and gourmet-to-go pickup on Thursday from 10am - 3pm.
10 Questions with Chef and Owners Jennifer Lobrano Plouff & Executive Chef Roger Plouff
1. Tell us about A La Carte?
A La Carte is a business run by my husband, Chef Roger and I. We have been in business since 1993. We have a number of related but different businesses. We serve a unique and authentic New England style lunch from 11am - 2pm every Friday to Tuesday.
We also have a gourmet food shop offering 30 freshly prepared and then frozen entrees in single and double serving sizes. These are gourment meals you take home. Items range from Maine lobster pie to Caribbean sesame pork skewers over wild rice, chicken and asparagus topped with parmesan wine sauce, and many others.
And just to keep busy we also run a gourmet catering business. Our menu for catering is quite different from our lunch and take home meals. Our catering can serve many needs from social cocktail parties, luncheons and dinner parties, to receptions. We offer a wide range of foods and some very innovative cakes.
2. What makes A La Carte special?
We offer a fun and friendly lunch experience that is truly different. For those who haven't been to A La Carte I can only encourage you to drop by for lunch to see for yourself. We have 6 indoor dining tables and 4 picnic tables on our patio. Roger and I run everything inside by ourselves. Things get a little hectic because we're usually full throughout the lunch period. But it's really fun. Roger cooks up a storm and I take care of greeting, waitressing, fixing up the tables and whatever else is needed so that everyone has a great meal. We're relaxed and casual, which means everyone gets their own drink and there's lots of friendly conversations going on. You'll feel like you are right at home.
A La Carte offers a special and unique New England experience to customers in the Beaches. We start with an authentic New England Style building just like you'd see in New England. You can sit on our outdoor picnic tables or inside in our quaint seaside cottage.
Inside we feature our own Moxie museum. Moxie is a Northeast treasure - it's a soda that was introduced in 1876, pre-dating Coca Cola. It's still enjoyed by New Englanders today and we have lots of Moxie history in our restaurant. In addition to the Moxie museum we have a large display of Beantown sports items.
We also feature a New England style gift shop with lots of great deals. All gifts are 50% off, all the time.
All of that is a warmup to the main event, which is our food.
Chef Roger is an Executive Chef who has been cooking for over 48 years. Chef Roger has spent many years cooking in fine dining establishments and his work is now available to people in the Beaches. As a long time New Englander and hands-on Chef it is Roger who brings the unique New England food style to A La Carte. From Chowdah, to Maine Lobstah rolls, New England Ipswich "full belly" clams, haddock fish sandwiches, lobstah bisque, homemade Whoopie pies and lots more. We get a lot of visitors who come for the New England experience and we aren't surprised when they tell us "you may even get better New England seafood right here in your backyard."
3. What sort of food do you serve?
Our signature lunch dishes are New England seafood specialties, such as haddock fish sandwiches (right), Ipswich "full belly" clams, crab cake sandwiches, lobster rolls, fried shrimp baskets, and combination baskets of large sea scallops, haddock, clams and shrimp.
For non-seafood eaters we we have offerings such as Chef's meatloaf sandwich, 12 hour smoked BBQ pork and slaw sandwich and a jumbo grilled hot dog on a split top bun.
Our catering is much different though. We provide a wide assortment of gourmet offerings such as lemon chicken with cognac cream sauce, brie with raspberry, Philly cheesesteak tartlets, smoked salmon tartare on Belni, petite filet of Beef Wellington (right) and and many more.
4. What exactly is New England fare?
The best way to explain it is to drop by and try it out for yourself. It starts with the seafood. Maine lobster, for example, is much different from Florida style lobster. Maine Lobster is much sweeter. Our clams are "full belly" Ipswich clams, which means they are the whole clam (not clam strips) - meaty and delicious, and unique to the Northeast. Our scallops are the big, juicy sea scallops. And we use the New England haddock for our fish. Haddock is a clean whitefish that is light tasting and flavorful, without being oily. Finally, the style of cooking that Chef Roger uses delivers a light, flavorful meal that lets the seafood shine through. It's very different from some of the heavy, highly battered meals that you may be familiar with.
5. Where do your recipes come from?
From Chefs Roger and Jennifer Plouff. The "North" meets the "South!"
Chef Roger is a culinary graduate, and grew up around, New England style seafood. Chef Jennifer was raised in the South, bringing the Southern flavors to the table. It makes for a great combination he said, she said experience.
6. What are your top recommendations for someone new to A La Carte?
1. Maine Lobstah Roll with Cape Cod Potato Chips
2. Fried Ipswich "Full Belly" Clam Box, Clam Roll or Clams by the pint, with fries and slaw
3. Fried Haddock Fish Sandwich with Cape Cod Potato Chips
4. Chef's New England Clam Chowdah
7. What would you recommend for someone who's looking for something a little different?
All our seafood. We are unique in serving a complete menu of New England seafood right here in Jacksonville Beach.
8. What's your most popular item?
Lobstah rolls, clams, haddock, chowdah.
9. What's your favorite item?
Clams, lobstah rolls, haddock, chowdah.
10. Is there anything else you'd like to add?
A La Carte is the best kept secret in Jacksonville Beach. We are located in a quaint New England style cottage with both outdoor and indoor seating. On Saturday and Sunday if you wear your "Bean Town Team" (Red Sox, N.E. Patriots, Celtics, or Bruins) logo you will receive 10% off your lunch entree. We have extended the discount to the New York Giants logo also. Sorry you Jets and Yankees fans, but you are still welcome to visit and enjoy. LOL. Monday is Ladies Day and we give 10% off your lunch entree.
A La Carte Catering & Event Designs is the only complete full service catering and event design business in the Beaches area. We can take care of everything for you from the gourmet food menu, rental, service staffing, floral designing, entertainment and valet services. We leave you free to focus on enjoying your perfect event and your guests.
Established in 1993, our track record speaks for itself. We cater for some of the finest parties in the Beaches area. If you don't need our full service offering you can still choose from our menu, pick up the food, and handle your own event details. This way you still get the best of what A La Carte offers.
If you call Jennifer at (904) 241-2005 she will arrange a time to walk you through a portfolio of past A La Carte events so that you can see some of the beautiful arrangements we have put together for others in the area.