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Action: Jackson's or (Am I) Dreaming in Hermosa...

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So I had this AMAZING dinner at this place in Hermosa - Jackson’s Village Bistro on Pier Ave. It was without a doubt one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time. Maybe I was just seduced by above average food in Hermosa. Maybe it was a fluke. I'd love to hear if anyone else has been...

First they brought the obligatory fresh bread. Which was, amazingly, fresh! A simple french country bread, a french with peppercorns, and some pita. Instead of butter or olive oil they bring a fresh, juicy hummus. And I thought I could never eat another bite of hummus, as everyone’s favorite party dip of the late 90’s brings me visions of throat-drying spackle laced with burning garlic! But this hummus was the nectar of the gods that changed my ever stubborn mind.

There was a small wine list with nice wines (we loved the buttery Chardonnay and Zin that we tried).

The Greek salad was nicely mellow - tiny roasted slivers of red pepper with cucumbers, red onions, feta, and kalamata olives that didn’t make my face squinch up. A friend had the chilean sea bass in fennel and tomato broth with leek gnocchi - it was soothing and subtle. Another had the seared steak - which was served with these garlic mashed potatoes that were so light and fluffy it was like letting a garlic laced cloud melt on your tongue. I had grilled shrimp with caramelized lemons, which is an appetizer, but makes for a nice main course. The shrimp were huge and lightly grilled, on a bed of baby greens with a delicious lemon dressing. The sauce on the shrimp was aioli-esque - interesting and flavorful without being too pungent or cloying.

Rich, intense coffee was served from a french press. For dessert, we ordered the “bananas foster,” which wasn't created flaming at your table, and was mysteriously served with hot fudge (which we declined), but the caramelized bananas with vanilla bean ice cream was dreamy all the same. And, last but certainly not least, another fluffy cloud: the crustless cheesecake with fresh berry sauce and a thin, deep brown graham cookie. Sigh.

The prices were pretty reasonable - the most expensive thing was $15.95. The only drawback - and I've heard the same complaint from others - is that the staff gets overwhelmed when it gets busy and service can be slow. Perhaps I was impressed most of all because Jackson's was in Hermosa. But I think I was also struck by the fact that it just wasn’t the same old tired seared ahi. These were dishes that you see around town on a lot of menus these days, but here they seemed to be prepared with care and love with fresh ingredients and a smidgen of innovation.

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