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Apr 20, 2007 08:00 PM

SD: What to order at Jayne's Gastropub

Getting together with a few foodie friends of mine at Jayne's. Already did a quick read over of what's been posted about the restaurant and I'm stoked about going.

So, without further ado, what have you ordered there and reccommend?


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  1. I had the burger and thought it was great. The fact they have AleSmith IPA on draft is great.

    1. I have only been to Jayne's once, so keep that in mind.

      My primary advice is to de-stoke yourself. In my opinion it is a solid neighborhood place and not (yet) a foodie-esque destination or a fine cuisine place. I've seen Jayne's come up in recs along with some relatively high-end places or for special occasions. I cannot agree with that type of rec. Portions are very large so one app, one entree, and one dessert is waaaay too much food for a normal human to consume, so order accordingly.

      In terms of the food I have had the calamari, white bean crostini, steak frites, and wiener schnitzel (pork). I can definitively say that you should NOT get the wiener schnitzel. The breading was fairly gummy and the dish was way underseasoned ( I had to dump on some salt from the shaker - which was Morton's table salt, again, not a foodie destination). The brocolini with the pork was truly delicious and the best thing we had, seriously delicious stuff. I would have been happier with twice as much brocolini and half as much pork. So there is talent and they do get quality stuff.

      The calamari is a large pile and I would get it again - to share. LIghtly breaded nicely seasoned. On the other hand, its fried calamari. I've had it a thousand times, you've had it a thousand times. Good? Sure. Something I'd drive across town for? Uh, no. But good and better than Your Local Bar's.

      White bean crostini. In a close second to the brocolini is the perfectly grilled bread served with the white bean puree. Excellent bread with exactly the right amount of olive oil and grill time. We got a LOT of bread - I think 6 large triangles. The puree was fine, but nothing you couldn't pull out of your processor in a hot minute. Beans, garlic, oil, salt. Not bad by any stretch, but nothing special by any stretch. Also came with some sort of funky pickled peppers which I thought were quite good and addicting. I would also get this again for the bread and peppers.

      Schnitzel. Huge portion. Bland and gummy. Came with the aforementioned brocolini and gruyere spaetzle. I was really looking forward to the spaetzle. Unfortunately, it tasted essentially like over-cooked elbow macaroni covered in gruyere. No texture except slowly hardening cheese. No flavor other than gruyere and onion. No melding of flavors. No harmony. Just bleh. Not bad per se, but a long way from fine cuisine. Having never made spaetzle I am quite sure I could glance at a recipe and make something at least as good. Again, do not order the wiener schnitzel. I cannot imagine that this dish stays in the rotation.

      Steak frites. A very large portion of flat iron with a large portion of fries. Both good, but nothing to swoon over. Niman Ranch flat irons have infected menus throughout the city and this one does not distinguish itself. Perfectly fine, but....

      Dessert. Skipped it, for a party of two we were stuffed to the gills and had enough for lunch the next day already.

      In the end, don't let me dissuade you from going. I am 100% in favor of a place trying to go seasonal and make simple food at mid-range prices run by a highly engaged owner with a presence on the floor. I want it to succeed, I will be going back. I also want it to improve, and I suspect it will. On the other hand, in my single was perfectly fine, but...

      I understand the pasta is freshly made (not by them) and heard a couple raving over the burger. And, as mentioned above, some beers on tap you normally don't see in a restaurant. Wine list I thought was decent and fairly priced as far as I could tell.

      Please report back and good luck!

      1. I've been there several times with friends, and between us we've been through everything but the steak, ribs, and schnitzel. So far nothing has disappointed, so you should be safe to follow your mood. My personal favorite has been the halibut.

        The desserts are all quite good; save room!

        1. It really depends on what you are in the mood for. We have liked everything we have ordered, including the fish and chips, the short ribs and the chicken with cous cous. I especially like the butterscotch pot de creme for dessert.

          I'm not really sure about rotochicken's rather harsh review. Jayne's isn't trying to be anything it isn't, and I for one am glad to see Niman Ranch meat (and flatirons) appearing on San Diego menus. As far as portions, if there are at least two of you, you shouldn't have any problems polishing off an appetizer, two entrees and a dessert.

          There is also an earlier thread here:

          14 Replies
          1. re: Alice Q

            Flat iron steaks are the menu darling du jour. I think Rotochicken's comment was just a reflection about how ubiquitous they've become in local restaurants. It's the old "don't tell anyone or they'll all be doing it", which is, of course, what has happened. Almost every restaurant is doing them.

            Personally, I like flat irons and cook them a lot at home (with caremlized red onions and a light mustard sauce, YUM). It's a tender cut of meat with good flavor and great versatility. What's not to love.

            1. re: DiningDiva

              When I was in San Francisco last week at Delfina, an excellent Italian restaurant South of Market, I remarked to my dining companion - "I didn't come all the way to San Francisco to eat steak frites - I can get that at home!"

              I think it's a good thing, that restaurants using more small farm products and better quality meats though - Old Creek Ranch at the Linkery, for example. It's also kind of fun to compare the versions of the same dish.

              1. re: Alice Q

                Ah, but those great quality products can be marred by faulty preparation, as was the pork dish by too much salt at one of the 2 above named local restaurants.

            2. re: Alice Q

              Diva is right. I like flat irons. Additionally, as I state, I am 100% in favor of local, seasonal, small farm food, and an engaged owner. There was no bigger fan of Region than me.

              As for what Jayne's is and what it is trying to be - I haven't a clue. If it is trying to be a neighborhood place, good. If it is trying to be more, well, not yet. My impression from the OP is that a group of 'foodie friends' is 'stoked' about going there. This was my feeling when we went. I thought a tempering of expectations would only help them enjoy it.

              Let me explain my perspective. We had the dishes described above and two beers. I think we spent about $67 before tax and tip. Comparing that meal with a restaurant in a higher rent area with generally similar sensibilities (i.e. local, seasonal, small farm, etc.) and prices (i.e. Region), Jayne's falls short. We actually specifically ordered what we did to compare it to Region (there's always hope). At Region we would have had the grilled octopus and the bruschetta for apps and the flat iron and pork milanese for entrees. With two beers, this meal at Region would have been about $75 before tax and tip. The brocolini at Jayne's would fit in at Region, and the bread might have been even better. Certainly there was a lot more food at Jayne's. That being said, everything else at Region is in a completely different league. Again, very similar dishes, very similar prices. Regardless of aspirations, it is a generally fair comparison. And, as we all know, Region had a large number of negative reviews. Jayne's has had nothing but glowing reviews. I thought a reality check was in order.

              Again, I will be going back. I want it to succeed. I hope the OP loves it.

              1. re: rotochicken

                That's an interesting perspective - but I'm not sure it's a fair comparison. Region was run by a well known local chef (Michael Stebner) who had previously cooked at two fine dining restaurants - Azzura Point and 910 - before going out on his own. Their price point was a bit higher, and they specifically advertised and promoted the fact that they used local products and produce. They also changed the menu daily, if I recall correctly. Region wasn't fine dining, but I think Market in many ways is more comparable. They are using the same concept but doing it better, at least in my opinion.

                Jayne's on the other hand promotes itself as a Gastropub - a neighborhood restaurant and watering hole with an upscale twist. I think it actually suits that purpose pretty well. The menu is simple and the food that we have had has been well prepared. I don't know what your qualifications are for a "foodie destination" - but seeing as Jayne's is new, popular and receiving favorable feedback, I think it makes sense for the OP and her friends to go there.

                I just thought some of your comments were a bit overly sarcastic - about making better spaetzle though you haven't seen a recipe, and making the bean dip in your food processor - not to mention the Niman Ranch flatirons infecting San Diego menus. (The word "infect" doesn't exactly have positive connotations to most people.) I'm not going to be a dead horse, but I think a better choice of words may have served your purpose just as well.

                1. re: Alice Q

                  I woke up this morning, oddly enough, thinking about this thread. When I logged on, I found that Alice had already written my thoughts - but more than likely, more eloquently. Jayne's is trying to be exactly what it is - a neighborhood place with great atmosphere, good food and owners with a presence. Often discussed on this board and differences between the food scene in cities like New York and San Fransisco versus San Diego. The difference is not just the higher end restaurants like Per Se and The French Laundry but by number of the smaller, neighborhood places we frequent most often. We have been lucky over the last few years to be gaining in this area including Cafe Chloe, Tartine, The Linkery, and now Jaynes. And while Jayn'e may offer more simpler fair, everthing I have had there has been perfectly executed. I had almost given up on ordering fried calamari (one of my favorite apps), even at seafood restaurants as I was often disappointed by a chewy or greasy rendition. Jayne's was fresh, perfectly seasoned, and perfectly cooked and they happily substituted the garlic aoili for me. The hamburger was very excellent and the frites tasty. The Halibut was also excellent. All in all, save possibly the wiener schnitzel which I have not tried, I think the OP, et al, will thoroughly enjoy thier choices at Jaynes.

                  1. re: Alice Q

                    First of all I wasn’t so far at Jayne’s Gastropub but I just wanted to make some general comments. I think restaurants should only be compared by what they deliver for the price you pay. It shouldn’t matter to discuss the background of the different chefs, neighborhood, fine dining or not etc. When I eat at a restaurant I see myself as a customer who spends a certain amount of money to get mainly two thing: good food and good service. And if I compare two similar dishes at two different restaurants it should only matter how much money I spend and how was the quality of the food and the service but it shouldn’t matter if one chef was at the CIA or not or if one claims to be a neighborhood place or a fine dining place. To come back to Jayne’s: I think a comparison to any restaurant (e.g. Region, Cavaillon etc.) who serves similar food (steak frites, braised ribs etc.) at similar prices is more than fair. If I spend similar amounts of money at Jayne’s and at other restaurants for a certain dish I expect that Jayne’s delivers the same quality of food or they should lower their prices. Their claim to be a Gastropub shouldn’t be an excuse to have lower expectations for the quality of your food. Just my two cents.

                    1. re: Alice Q

                      I was going to let this go...but since honkman has leapt to my defense I'll add a couple final comments.

                      Essentially I agree with honkman, similar food at similar prices makes for a fair comparison. However, let us just chalk it up to how good Region was (at least to me).

                      As for me being sarcastic, I have to disagree. Brusque and grumpy? Okay, but there is no sarcasm. White bean puree is, in fact, beans, oil, and salt - simple and good. AliceQ, I read all your blog posts, and I KNOW you could make the equivalent in your processor. I also said Jayne's puree was fine and raved about the bread it went on - and maybe the bread is meant to be the star. IMO, it is very fair and useful note - it is a 12 word description and you probably know exactly what it tastes like. As for the gruyere concoction, my description is a bit rude, but a clear indication of what I thought of that dish - melted cheese on ugh.

                      In any case, and this is the important part, let me highlight the crucial points in my original review post:
                      1. I stated I would order both apps again.
                      2. I said the flat iron and frites were good.
                      3. I did not particularly enjoy the pork, but the brocolini side was terrific.
                      4. I said there is talent, quality ingredients, large portions, excellent beverages at excellent prices, and that it is a solid neighborhood place to which I would return (and it isn't my neighborhood).

                      I see on another thread that they have added polenta, a favorite of mine, and braised short ribs, another favorite of mine. Although I have to say short ribs have been propagating across San Diego menus like a swarm of diseased locusts. Er.....I mean ...short ribs have alighted upon San Diego menus like a thousand tender, beefy, unctuous angels. You get my point.

                      1. re: rotochicken

                        You could have said - the only thing more ubiquitous than flat iron steak on local menus are braised short ribs ;-D............and I'd have agreed with you on that too. I like Honkman's comments, he's right on target for a lot of us.

                        1. re: rotochicken


                          did you ever go to The Linkery ? I loved Region but I think the Linkery is going in a somehow comparable direction with their concept. I visited the Linkery twice in the last two weeks and was very impressed by their food and service (but I don't like in general that they (and some other restaurants) start to have a no-tipping policy and add directly 18% to your bill).

                          1. re: rotochicken

                            "a thousand tender, beefy, unctuous, angels" - I like the sound of that! :-)

                            I actually was going to let this go as well, because I think Honkman sort of misunderstood my comment, but his is valid as well. I don't disagree that each restaurant deserves to be evaluated to the extent possible on its own merits, regardless of the pedigree, etc.

                            I think it's difficult to be totally objective about reviewing restaurants solely in terms of food quality vs. price point. Certainly food quality is paramount, but other factors do come into play, and we all have sentimental favorites.

                            My take on your review is that you came to Jayne's with high expectations, hoping it would compare to your favorite restaurant Region. When it disappointed you, your reaction was negative. Maybe even more negative than it would have been had you judged Jayne's solely on its own merits. It's totally understandable. Fair? Maybe yes, maybe no. Ultimately though, you're entitled to your opinion and entitled to express it, and I won't comment on it any further.

                            I hope you have a better meal on your next visit!

                            1. re: Alice Q

                              Actaully, I didn't take Rotochickens comments to be negative. Most of his comments were positive and he had high praise for more items than not. He also made comments about a couple of items that weren't as successfully executed; there were fewer of these comments than the positive ones. For some reason his positive comments have gotten lost in all the hoopla over the couple of negative things he had to say. What I took from his comments was that he liked Jayne's, most of what he ate was very good, and that even though there were a couple of glaring (for him) missteps he liked it and would be going back.

                              Being objective for *any* restaurant review is hard. Everyone has an opinion about food and everyone thinks they are an expert (whether they are or not). Everyone has different tastes, responds differently to different taste profiles, and everyone has their own set of food expectations. Restaurant reviews are based on the tastes of an individual person and if your taste preferences jibe with that person, then you're probably going to like those reviews, if not, you'll probably wonder how that person got a gig writing reviews ;-). Few things about food are objective, it's one of the most subjective things I know.

                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                It may be splitting hairs, but just to clarify, I didn't say that the comments were negative. I said that I found the review to be "rather harsh" and " a bit overly sarcastic." In the most recent post, I said that I thought his reaction to the restaurant was negative based on the comparisons he was making. I'm aware that he said some positive things in the review - and I've taken that into account in my comments.

                        2. re: rotochicken

                          I like Jayne's and I was a huge fan of Region. Without getting into the main issues of this thread, I feel compelled to interject a small but important point: The prices at Jayne's and Region are hardly similar -- unless your definition of "similar" is very broad, indeed. We had dinnner at Jayne's last Friday night, and our bill, including tax but exclusive of tip, was $92.00. Almost $40 of that was wine. Now that's not exactly In-And-Out, but it's a long way from deluxe level. In fact, the only time I ever had a comparably affordable tab at Region was once when we enjoyed a light Saturday lunch on their tiny patio. Jayne's ain't Region, but hey, I'm okay with that.
                          . . . jim strain

                      2. Okay, so we're changing the venue to Alexander's at North Park since Jayne's closed today.

                        Will report back.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jessijessi

                          Cute. I think you should know that Jayne's is

                          closed sunday and monday