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Jul 22, 2007 04:16 PM

Jack's Bistro

My Fiance and I had dinner at Jack's Bistro in the Canton section of Baltimore this Saturday night. I had read many positive things here about them and the Baltimore Sun article made it sound like an interesting place, so we decided to give it a try. The decor was really hip and cute. Everything looked very clean, neat and well thought out. The lighting was slightly dim for atmosphere, the walls were freshly painted pretty colors and the pictures were all tasteful. The bathrooms were even neat, clean and tastefully decorated. The dining room was a little loud, but I think it might have been that the people on the other side of the dining room were very loud. The lamp shades in the other room at the booths were very cute. Our Waitress was wonderful. She never left things on the table that we did not want and was one of those Waitresses who does not make you feel intimidated and she was always there when you needed her. She did a very good job explaining things and making recomendations. I understand that she worked with the Chef previously at Red Fish. It says something for the Chef/Owner that he can keep someone of this high caliber. Other staff members were very friendly and helpful as well. We shared an appetizer - avocados with crab meat from the Caribbean menu. It was pretty good. I ordered salmon as my entree and had them cook it well done. It was good and the mashed potatoes were excellent. My Fiance had a wonderful cut of steak in, what I think was a wine or Jack Daniels sauce. The steak was wonderful because you could cut it pretty easily with a butter knife. We did not order wine - we just weren't in the mood - we just drank soda. We shared smores for desert - my Fiance thought they were "just ok" and I thought they were one of the best things I had ever eaten in my life. I had one of those fancy, "drink" coffees which unfortunately wasn't hot enough but was good. The bill was around $70. All in all it was a good experience.

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  1. I've eaten @ Jack's several times since they've opened and really enjoyed the food. I think there are a few dishes on the menu that might scare off the general nonCH crowd, but that's ok, bc there's plenty of other things for them to try (The ribs are very very good, fall off the bone, good).

    Just an FYI, their $12 Sunday entree deal is a steal, if you're not sure about the menu and perhaps not wanting to spend a lot on a dinner you aren't sure about, this is certainly a good way to try it out.

    5 Replies
      1. re: jes

        I've eaten there as well and really liked everything about the restaurant. I called a few days before to see if I could get a reservation. The woman on the phone (Christy) told me she didn't take them, but to come see her when we arrived and she'd see what she could do. When I spoke to her the night we arrived, she remembered me and we were seated within 15 minutes of arriving. The food is very good, and inventive. The restaurant is small, but I think that's one of the things that makes it so nice, the intimacy.

        1. re: jrl2929

          I love this place. The smoked gouda grits - yowza. Great staff, inventive menu. It's one of my favorite date night places. Probably best if your date is a foodie, too.

        2. re: jes

          Every Sunday, they have $12 entrees if you sit at the bar, $15 if you're at a table. You usually have 3-4 options to pick from. For example, this Sunday it included a Cast-Iron Skillet Bistro Steak topped with White Truffle Oil, with mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus. I was sold.

          1. re: pattiat600block

            This might be a change in the menu prices, I've always paid $12 for my entrees on Sundays and I've sat at all the bar, dinning room and benchs in the bar. I do know that one Sunday a month they have one of the Sushi chefs from Matsuri come in and roll sushi so their Sunday menu is slightly limited.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. This place is my favorite in the city at the moment, I must've gone 3 weeks in a row when I first discovered it. The only time I came even remotely close to a negative experience was getting the unfortunate middle table in the small dining room, flanked by a rowdy party of 12 on the left, and 3 tables on the right (tip: wait for another table, if your only option is this one; I actually prefer the booths by the bar). But even then I was delighted by the Pop Rocks that were sprinkled on top of my ahi tuna entree.

          The drink menu here will also make beer connoisseurs happy - I had a delicious white lager from Japan this weekend called Hitachino's Nest (it was offered on draught!). All the servers are friendly and attentive, and Christy the hostess is a doll. A few of my favorites: the Tuna Pot Stickers appetizer, Lobster Cake Bento Box, Sugar Cane Skewered Beef, and usually anything from their monthly ethnic menu. Say hi to the chef and owner - he works every night, right at the window.

          1. So I went to Jack's Bistro this weekend. Nice spot, interesting menu, sub-par service and then it all went horribly wrong. I ordered the tuna, pan seared, smashed potatoes, snap berry sauce. SO I'll be the first to admit, I don't know what a snapping berry is, but I assumed it was, indeed, a berry.

            Nope. The meal arrives and it is crackling. I taste it and the sauce is made with pop rocks. Long story short, it was the most disgusting thing I've ever put in my mouth and I have put some very disgusting things in my mouth.

            Imagine the bold flavor of pop rocks and the creamy texture of fine tuna.

            I ate one bite and sent it back. When the bill arrived, it was still on there. Keep in mind, our parties bill was over $500.

            When I asked if it could be removed, the waitress said, "I don't want to get into the middle of this, I'm going to get the manager." Huh?

            So the manager tells us that the policy is not to take anything off the check. She goes on to say, "I'm sorry you don't like pop rocks, but I'm allergic to nuts and I always make sure to ask, if there are nuts in something before I order it."

            Sooo, you're saying I should have asked, "Are there any pop rocks in the tuna? I was thinking about a burger, are there milk duds in that? How about live leprechauns? I don't eat live leprechauns. Are there any in the cheese soup?"

            I was condescended to and will never return. I urge you to do the same. The service had been sub-par to that point and this was the icing on the cake (and if the cake was made at Jack's the icing would probably include walrus lard).

            4 Replies
            1. re: superoceanlad

              Jack's cuteness with things like chocolate in the mac and cheese and "ice cream" to describe the scoop of something in the salad is not my style, but after two meals at the place, I have to say it is an excellent restaurant with a fine atmosphere and we've had good service. I am partial to Helen's two blocks away on Sundays when they have special entrees and half-price wine, but I would have preferred the $12 flatiron steak to my burger yesterday. Also, how big was your party that spent over $500? I don't think Jack's is overpriced. Not a bargain, but reasonable.

              1. re: superoceanlad

                I've had nothing but great experiences when dining at Jack's. The service has always been outstanding. Not only fast and friendly, but the servers are excited to talk about the menu. The food is both inventive and delicious, not to mention very reasonably priced. Jack's isn't for everyone though. Those looking for conventional fare would do well to go somewhere else.

                1. re: superoceanlad

                  I've also had a great meal and good service when eating at Jack's, but I don't think the above post should be dismissed just because its the "it" place now that everyone seems to want to succeed.
                  I agree that part of its appeal is the menu's creativity, but to blame the customer for not having the foresight to think that POP ROCKS may be an ingredient in his tuna entree is poor business sense, especially when they're spending $500 + in your establishment. I think the way the situation was handled was the main complaint, not the lack of conventional fare.

                  1. re: rawdog

                    Well, it wasn't the 'pop rocks' for me, but I had a similar experience with Jack's being far less than gracious.

                    I was there months and months ago. Frankly, it's not normally my kind of place, but I was curious enough to try it. The day after my meal, I was seriously drinking the pepto bismol, since the food was so unrelentingly heavy. (And, we even got the veggie bento box!)

                    In addition to being discussed on CH, Jack's was also being discussed on my neighborhood forum. Someone who had something to do with the place was also on the forum. When I explained the facts above: that the food really didn't sit well, and that there were few options that weren't really over the top on the fat content thing, I was told by this person, well, there will be someone who'll happily take your table on a Friday night!

                    That actually made me laugh! But, how much different by opinion on the place would have been had they said something like: glad you tried it; sorry you had a bad experience; maybe you should try it again, etc. etc......

                    I actually would have given this place another shot, say, on their pretzel night. But, not now!

                2. If I had spent $500, or even a lesser amount and then was told that it was my fault and they were not going to back my dish from the tab I would be furious. I would probably leave a poor tip and then I'd blast them online, never go back or recomend them to anyone else.