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Jack's Bistro - what to get?

t
tapas gal Sep 27, 2007 07:45 AM

Hello all... I am going to Jack's Bistro tomorrow night for dinner with one of my bridesmaids. Having read very mixed reviews on here I am curious on what the folks who did like Jack's ordered -and what their favorites are.

I will say upfront that I fear that I would not be a fan of the "now infamous' pop rock tuna. Looking at their menu I was curious about the Skate Wing the most. So if anyone has had that I would be interested on their take on it.

thanks so much in advance!!

  1. h
    HungryTed Sep 27, 2007 09:58 AM

    Let me start by saying that the pop rocks thing has been blown WAY out of proportion. The dish is sprinkled with a few pop rocks, which basically add sugar to the dish. There is a very slight fizzing, but you won't be foaming at the mouth. The quality of the tuna by the way is exceptional.

    I know you want specific recommendations, but I have had most of the menu and enjoyed it all very much. Whatever you pick will end up being good. Just go prepared for a unique dining experiance, and you won't be disapointed.

    Don't fear the tuna!

    4 Replies
    1. re: HungryTed
      crowsonguy Sep 28, 2007 09:08 AM

      I think it was the arrogant attitude of the place that offended more than the poor choice of garnish.

      1. re: crowsonguy
        baltoellen Sep 28, 2007 09:53 AM

        ...and, more on the attitude.

        After eating there months and months ago, I posted a review here. I wasn't especially impressed with the place, and found the food unrelentingly heavy which made me sick the next day.

        I also posted a review on my neighborhood listserve, where Jack's had been lauded, to explain what I thought and how awful I felt after eating there.

        Someone who worked for the restaurant responded: Well, then, that means an extra two spaces for someone else on a Friday night!

        Talk about arrogant.....And, what's funny, I was willing to give it another shot, trying to order more carefully, but certainly not now!

        1. re: baltoellen
          t
          tapas gal Sep 28, 2007 10:32 AM

          I am intrigued by the dissension of opinions... I will report back my humble opinion after my meal there tonite.

          1. re: baltoellen
            h
            hon Sep 28, 2007 12:12 PM

            Wow, I have no desire to go there now!
            I saw a friend the other night who is in the restaurant biz here in Bmore and she said that she thought the food there was just OK but that they had a great caesar salad. As much as I like a great caesar salad, they shant get a plug nickle out of me.

      2. m
        matt8313 Sep 28, 2007 12:56 PM

        First off, let me say that I've never had anything less than a pleasant experience at Jack's. The food has been slightly variable in quality, but the waitresses and bartenders have been absolutely terrific, friendly in a natural and non-terrifying way and always helpful with honest recommendations. Management may be a bunch of jackasses, but I've never had to encounter them. So keep optimistic going in.

        As far as the food, my wife won't NOT order the mac 'n cheese with chocolate. She adores it beyond words. The logom is the single weirdest combination of foods I've ever eaten in my life, and probably not worth spending time on. The cheeseburger balls were unremarkable (my friend described them as "like a really good version of one of those samples you'd get at Sam's Club).

        My two favorites so far have probably been the Saigon Soup (which I thought was amazing) and the Short Rib (although the Short Rib is definitely a heavy, cold-weather kind of dish). My wife loves the burgers, and my friend had a scallop special that was very good.

        Man, I would love a bowl of that soup right now....

        2 Replies
        1. re: matt8313
          mobtown hound Sep 28, 2007 02:03 PM

          I agree that their soups are fantastic. The Saigon Soup is great, but my favorite is the Cheeseburger Soup. It's so rich and creamy.

          Jack's food is definitely on the heavy side, but I love rich food. I wouldn't recommend it to those looking for a light meal.

          As for the service, I too have had only pleasant experiences. It's apparent that the staff really loves food and they really enjoy talking about the menu.

          1. re: mobtown hound
            t
            tapas gal Oct 2, 2007 11:46 AM

            Original poster reporting back as promised.. My vote is that I am going to have to side with matt8313. My experience pretty much paralleled what he previously wrote. I thought all of the waitstaff was fabulous. Pre-seating, My friend and I were next in line for a table and it became clear we were going to get the 2 seat table in the middle of the room. OR as another Hound called it... "the unfortunate middle table". I politely remaked that we would hold out for the following table, we didn't mind a longer wait. She couldn't have been nicer and still worked hard at getting us another table. There was no attitude whatsoever on her part... she actually seemed amused -- perhaps she hears that request quite often.

            Food wise - I do agree that the quality was good for some things, great for some things and fairly nasty for some. (well, to be fair - 1 thing). For both me and my friend, both of appetizers that we ordered were in the great category. We got the Salt and Pepper Crusted Scallops and the Spanish Shrimp and Garlic. If the Scallop dish with the spicy marinated tomato cucumber salad was served as an entree I would be a happy camper. We both ordered the same entree (which drives me crazy... but that is another topic for another post). We got the Guinness Bistro Tenderloin served with charred tomato smashed potatoes and grilled asparagus. Good, even pretty good... but not great. I think perhaps since I ordered a fairly "safe" menu item I was "disappointed" with it's "safeness"... but of course, that would be my fault.

            The nasty category (and I think I will raise some dissension here) was the Smores dessert. This I did not get... Presentation was lovely - but it stops there. I didn't taste "Smore" at all. I had no Graham Cracker flavor and the sauce to me was straight out of the Hershey's Chocolate Syrup bottle.

            bottom line, I would return for the appetizers alone.... and I think I am gonna give the Tuna a shot!

        2. s
          sweetpotater Oct 5, 2007 10:06 AM

          We have been twice and loved the food and the service, both times. Especially liked the Tuesday night pretzel specials -- with crab, shrimp, steak, etc., on top -- sounds weird but tastes great. My favorites are the Spanish shrimp, grilled corn, cheeseburger soup (pedestrian but hits the spot), Argentine steak. The scallops were too salty and hard to eat on the weird serving dish (little pedestals) and the hot dog, while great quality meat, was buried under too much stuff. The fried smores were delicious but too generous a portion; I liked the lavender peppercorn ice cream. The cocktails (Jack's Italian soda, spa martini, mango mojito) were fantastic.

          3 Replies
          1. re: sweetpotater
            s
            Sop Oct 5, 2007 09:51 PM

            Is this the same spot as Elliott St Bar & Grill from 5 yrs ago? If so, has the interior changed? And what's in the old Mangia, Blu location?

            1. re: Sop
              rpb Oct 6, 2007 04:03 AM

              Yeah, that's the same spot, at the corner of Elliott and S. Robinson. The interior has been redone very nicely, repainted, new marble tiled floors and fun Shag artwork. As for Mangia/Blu, it's still sitting empty, I keep wondering when something else will take over that space.

              1. re: rpb
                Chowtimore Oct 6, 2007 08:44 AM

                Although the exterior design remains, Blu was converted (back) into a rowhouse. It was occupied for a couple of years, but now it's on the market (and has been for a while)...

                http://tinyurl.com/2vvjwe

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