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Jan 25, 2007 10:34 AM

Jack's Bistro in Canton

Read an article about this place in the Sun paper. It looks like the chef has worked at some good local places (Red Fish, Salt), and the menu items listed in the article looked very interesting and pretty reasonably priced. Has anyone tried it, and if so, am I right to be excited? Thanks, Hounds...

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    1. Just checked out Jack's Bistro this weekend without realizing the chef's pedigree -- it's only been open 2 weeks. Have to say I think I had one of the best dishes I've had in years -- a FANTASTIC lobster, shrimp, and asparagus risotto with truffles that was the chef's special Friday night (and very reasonably priced at $21). Have you ever had a dish that, when it arrived, you wished would never end? Yeah, that's what this was. I'm not sure who I have to bribe to get it added to the regular menu.

      I was pleasantly surprised -- the menu offered a variety of flavors, with some Asian (fusion) influence. My boyfriend's bento box was centered around a Maine lobster cake that was delish. There was a green chicken curry on the menu as well as a noodle bowl.

      Our dessert ("duet of apple" -- warm Jewish apple cake, phyllo dough wrapped apple/cranberry filling served with Haagen Daaz cinnamon ice cream) - was terrific if not particularly unique.

      Great little neighborhood find -- even only open 2 weeks, it was crowded. Don't get there much after 6:30 -- it filled up quickly. I'll definitely be back.

      1. I checked out Jack’s Bistro this past weekend. We arrived at about 8pm on Friday night. We didn't have a wait even though the place is small and intimate. The staff was super friendly. We were immediately welcomed by the chef-owner's mother who was genuinely gracious and warm. Jack’s Bistro has a home town restaurant feel but still retains its cosmopolitan flair.

        I tried the bubble tea martini mentioned in the Sun review and it was pretty good. If you’ve had regular bubble tea, it is similar, only it had too much ice so it was hard to find the tapioca balls in the glass. It was sweet and didn't have enough vodka. Innovative idea though. If you order it, tell them to go easy on the ice.

        I had the veggie bento box and it was incredible. I'm vegetarian and it's rare when I leave a restaurant as satisfied with my meal as when I left Jack’s. The bento box had mashed potatoes, beets, steamed greens and a variety of wild mushrooms. Ingenious, interesting on my palate, filling, and healthy. I couldn't have been more pleased. My date ordered the curry chicken and said it was phenomenal. He said it totally hit the spot. We were so satiated that we passed on dessert.

        Finally, as if the incredible meal wasn’t enough we celeb spotted Domenick Lombardozzi (who plays Herc on The Wire) hanging out at the bar. How cool!

        1. Based on the recs on this board, we checked out Jack's on Tuesday night. Agree whole-heartedly with the previous posts; very friendly staff, perfect atmosphere, and good to amazing food. It was "Pretzel Night", so my fiance and I split the Italian pretzel. The tomatoes that covered the pretzel (along with cheese) tasted very fresh, and the pretzel was great as well.

          For entrees, my fiance got the aforementioned veggie bento box. I sampled the chard and the beets, and both were great. She really liked the whole thing. I loved my short rib. The meat was incredibly tender, and went wonderfully with the cheesy grits with a kick of jalapeno. For dessert, we tried lavender peppercorn ice cream (made especially for the restaurant by Moxley's) with a WARM sugar cookie. I love lavender, and it went nicely with the, well, peppery red peppercorns. By the end of the portion, I was getting a bit overwhelmed by the flavor, but it may have just been too much great food.

          Thanks for the info, and we will most certainly be back, either for dinner or for brunch.


          1. Another enthusiastic "yes!" for Jack's Bistro. I'd give it an 8/10, and my dining companion also independently arrived at that. They had very solid food and great service. Some of the dishes lacked that "this is the penultimate flavor pairing I have ever had" which is all that it would take to make it a 10/10.

            We arrived around 8 on a Saturday night and were immediately seated. There was one empty duece and 1-2 empty booths in the bar area. It was thumpin', but not packed to the gills. We were seated right in the middle of the back room, which took a few minutes to get used to. The servers don't have a lot of room to navigate around you, and they're doing it so delicately that I felt sorry for them. (I used to be a Tazmanian Devil-type waitress.) It also was a bit loud, my date misunderstood what I said once or twice. Though that was probably soley due to the screaming baby next to us.

            To deconstruct our dishes:

            Dirty martinis. PERFECT. Icy glasses, not too gin-ny, not too briny. That barkeep nailed the perfect balance. 9/10, because they should have garlic or blue cheese stuffed olives for this type of 'toony.

            Shrimp in white wine. We felt that the creamy white wine sauce lacked a little bit of depth. We both would have added a bit more salt (caveat: we both like salt). He said a splash of sherry would be nice, and I would have added a kiss of cayenne to it for that depth. I also would have grilled the pita a bit more. 7/10

            Hungarian mushroom soup. WOW. So rich, so nutty, so mushroomy. One spoonful was enough to send me over the edge. Paired with the Syrah, that would be my idea of a perfect lunch. 10/10

            Salad with romaine/apple/bleu crumbles/candided bacon. Excellent pairing of tastes. The salad was so lightly dressed, the flavor of the lettuce shone through. That's great for mesclun and greens that have some body to them, but romaine is so light. All this dish needed was a splash of champagne vinegar--that would have hit it out of the ballpark. The bacon was amazing. 8/10

            Hake with olive tapenade on a bed of white beans. It was the special of the night, and damn good. Fish cooked perfectly, as were the white beans. (Did they use a pressure cooker? Whoever did those beans, kudos, chef! They were perfect.) There weren't a lot of sauces, just goodness of the ingredients. 9/10

            Veggie bento box. In order of my favorites: Swiss chard. PERFECT! Crunchy, just enough olive oil and salt. Looked gorgeous with the red and green. I will go back just to order this chard. I am so glad they have it as a side! I will eat it every time I go. 10/10

            Roasted beets. Both red and golden, very tasty. Could have used a sprinkle of coarse sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Also, I got to wondering about the skin. Can you roast the skin of a beet so that it's chewy and adds texture, like with a good baked potato? I love it when a restaurant introduces me to a new food that I want to make at home. 9/10

            Mashed potato with carmelized onion in the middle, sprinkled with panko. Panko was a great idea for texture. The mashers were creamy, buttery, and yum. The onions got a little lost in here. I think if they cooked them with more assertive flavors (brandy? wine?) they would have stood out more. 9/10

            Mushrooms. After the mushroom soup I was drooling at the prospect of the mushrooms but was disappointed. (Caveat: I lived in Russia where we ate freshly picked wild mushrooms full of flavor, unlike the 'shrooms in the States that generally taste like cardboard. So I'm usually disappointed with mushroom dishes here.) They were a little too one-note for me. Just tasted of lemon juice. And not woodsy enough. I would have cooked them in the water of reconstituted chantarelles or shiitakes to infuse them with more mushroomy taste, then also added wine or brandy for an additional layer. I also would have liked them a little more with sauce. There was literally no gravy/water/mush juice in that part of the plate. My date ate them all up, he loved them the way they were. So, to each her/his own. :) 6/10

            Lavender/peppercorn ice cream. It wasn't on the menu, but we asked for it and it was AMAZING. 10/10, baby! We both agreed that it was the best of everything we ate. That's the sort of flavor pairings and masterful execution our palates like. Hubba hubba. The cookie was a perfect touch.

            I generally hate drip coffee, but they have no espresso so got it. Great cup of coffee.

            Service was top-notch from the moment we walked in. The hostess was on her game, very attentive, and was even showing pics of the dishes from her cell phone. You can tell she really cares about the place and it's success---and for the patrons to be happy. Our server was top-notch as well. Knew the menu inside and out, didn't hover, wasn't overly solicitous in that disgusting fake manner, had a sense of humour, and did her job perfectly.

            Wednesday is lobster night, Thursday is risotto night. We will be back to check out these items.

            I got the feeling that their strength is with the entrees. I had a really hard time choosing between several dishes that all sounded (and looked, as they were walked past us!) amazing. Out of all of their apps, the only one I wanted to try was the shrimp. The others were a bit too heavy for my taste (hot dips, fried items, etc.). The salad selection also didn't wow me. I love my mixed greens and they weren't on offer.

            This place is definitely going to stay hot. They are doing great, and I hope they continue to do well.