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Mar 19, 2008 01:26 PM

Eating in Jackson: suggestions?

OK, New Orleans foodie here. I've spent time in Jackson in the past, and I will be there once a week during the week for the forseeable future. I'm looking for any and all suggestions for cool places to eat. I've been to Tico's, Bravo, Julep, Char, and Amerigo in the past. I'm looking for other suggestions. Low end, high end, and anything in between. I'll have time to try them all! I'm very vinocentric (if that's even a word), but not to the exclusion of all else. Any help is greatly appreciated.

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  1. Ok. Here I go again. Jackson has an Indian restaurant, Spice Avenue, that started out as an Indian grocery last summer. They cook in the back and have taken out most of the groceries and replaced them with tables. The food is excellent - very fresh. I adore the butter chicken, the chicken tikka kabab, the bhindi masala (okra) and a dish that isn't on the menu but they will make if you ask for it - shrimp (or chicken) in a chili-garlic sauce. Spice Avenue is open every day (incl. Sunday) from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. They are located on the I-55 west frontage road just south of Northside Drive (and just north of the I-Hop). Do not confuse it with the other Indian restaurant that is located on the same strip of frontage road but about a quarter mile north of Spice Avenue. The phone number is (601) 982-0890. I don't have any ownership interest in the place, I'm just determined to keep it open so that I can eat there all the time.

    The place is not fancy but the food is really, really good. You can get beer and/or wine with your meal.

    6 Replies
    1. re: JaneWinston

      We ate at Spice Avenue last night. This was my third time to eat there. It started out as really good, and has now progressed to being wonderful! The food was always really great, but the ambiance left something to be desired- unless you enjoy eating on mis-matched kitchen tables and chairs in between aisles of canned goods... But now it actually feels much more like a restaurant instead of a converted C-Store, and what a difference!

      It is a seat yourself place, so when you go, just spot out the best table and have a seat. They were a little harried when we arrived (almost full and it looked like a lot of to go orders), but they were pretty quick to take our order. We decided to go with the Butter Chicken, the Tandori Chicken and garlic naan.

      They were a little slow in bringing the food, but they brought us some complementary khachara(sp) with some kind of green dipping sauce (can't remember the name- maybe had parsley, mint and something spicy- wonderful!) to enjoy while we waited.

      When the food arrived, everything was great! We were happy to find that the Butter Chicken that I make at home tastes almost exactly like theirs, so I must be doing something right! Anyway, we ate and ate, but still had some food left over to bring home, so I get to enjoy a decent lunch today!

      My wife (who was hesitant about going- she really wanted Thai) proclaimed it to be some of the best food that she had ever eaten and said that I could take her there anytime, so Jane, it looks like we are going to help you keep it open!

      1. re: Clarkafella

        Great! I guess I'll be eating there quite a bit now that my house has a tree in it. I love the butter chicken but lately I've been asking for shrimp or chicken in a chili-garlic sauce. It isn't on the menu but they offered it to me once and now I'm addicted. Spice Avenue is really unique to Jackson.

        1. re: JaneWinston

          I ate there for lunch yesterday- guess you have finally gotten me strung out on this place... Sorry to hear about your house- do you live in North East Jackson?

          1. re: Clarkafella

            Between Meadowbrook and Northside - the very edge of Fondren. We had about seven trees down on our street.

            1. re: JaneWinston

              Saw the house at the corner of Northside and North State yesterday- it was slammed! Well like you say you have no excuse not to go out to eat every night if you have a tree in your house!

    2. Jeffchow, would you be dining alone or with others? There are some great places here, but I would feel uncomfortable dining alone in some of them- Fratesi's comes to mind here.

      Spice Avenue would be fine either alone or as part of a group...

      4 Replies
      1. re: Clarkafella

        Clarkfella, I'll be mostly on my own. However, I'm the adventurous type. Among other things, I've done a week in Rome by myself, so I'm very comfortable popping in anywhere and making myself comfortable. I've found that many higher-end places will let you eat at the bar, which can be a great way to meet some interesting people. Thanks to you and everyone else for the suggestions. I'll keep reading and I'll post as I visit them!

        1. re: jeffchow

          If you are here in the evening, you would probably enjoy Elixir. It's on the I-55 Frontage Road East next to the Piccadilly (north of the Northside Drive exit). Open Tuesday thru Saturday. Very swank. Great appetizers. I've been dying to try the crispy gulf snapper. Eat at the bar and ask for the owner, Skip Nessel. If he's around, he'll be glad to entertain you and talk about food.

          Here's the menu:

          1. re: JaneWinston

            Jane, thanks for the suggestion! The menu looks very interesting. I think I'll give it a try this Tuesday night.

            1. re: jeffchow

              If Skip is there, he'll entertain you; he's a very gracious host. I love the redfish bruschetta but I think all the appetizers are really, really good.

      2. On the very low end, you can't miss Tony's Tamales up by the Jackson Medical Mall. It's as hole-in-the-wall as it gets, but the tamales are outstanding. Go for lunch as you don't want to be in this part of town at night.

        For high end, go to Walker's Drive-in. It's not a typical drive-in.

        4 Replies
        1. re: tennreb

          On a business trip last year I had a surprisingly wonderful meal at Walker's Drive-In. After I'd settled in and ordered a glass of wine, I looked at the menu... to find that it might be a tad too much for my expense account. It was late, I was tired and hungry, and the wine was really really good, so I decided to just go for it. Glad I stayed. I can't remember exactly what I ordered, except it was a veal dish with fresh grilled asparagus and I wanted to lick the plate clean....

          1. re: duke88

            Had a truly excellent meal at Walker's last night. Probably the best meal I've ever had in Jackson.

            I had a great lunch at the Mayflower last week -- it is brown bag for wine.

            I also had dinner at Tico's and lunch at Nick's. Both were good, but neither was on par food-wise with Walker's or Mayflower.

            Almost forgot, I also recently had a good dinner at Julep, and they have a very nice and affordable wine list.

            1. re: fat harry

              I second both Walker's and Elixir. If you like the old-time iceberg wedge with blue cheese, Walker's has a very good rendition.

              I used to go to Jackson a few times a year when I lived in New Orleans. For its size, it's a pretty good eating city, imo.

              1. re: VaPaula

                I agree. I've always thought Jackson had a surprisingly good dining scene.

        2. I managed to try a couple of places last week. I had an appointment in town, so I was able to duck into Tony's Tamales. Very nice! Located in what obviously used to be a fast food joint, spotlessly clean, very friendly staff. I grabbed a dozen spicy tamales and enjoyed myself very much, only to have another diner tell me on the way out that the gumbo is not to be missed....well, next time! That evening I went to Elixer. I wouldn't describe it as swank the way some here have. I can see what they're trying to do, but you can't change the fact that its in a strip mall next to Piccadilly. That said, the food was really outstanding! I had a flight of red wines (I enjoyed the small but very eclectic list): 3 for $18. I decided to go with 2 small plates to eat. I chose the redfish bruschetta and the duck breast with black forbidden rice. Both were exceptional! The redfish was unexpected, but came together perfectly; grilled with peppers on bread. If anything, the duck was even better; both the duck and the rice were cooked exactly right. All in all a great experience. Thanks for the suggestions, and I'll be trying more next week!

          3 Replies
          1. re: jeffchow

            Glad you had a good experience. I need to get to Elixer myself and try the crispy snapper.

            I was feeling ok about Jackson food and then I was reading an article in the March 24 New Yorker about this chef starting a new restaurant in New York. The chef worked in Tokyo for a while at a ramen shop that turned out to be a bad restaurant but "his true apprenticeship came from eating around the city and realizing what it meant to live in a food culture where even the smallest, cheapest place served food more delicious than you could get in half the restaurants in Manhattan."

            1. re: JaneWinston

              Well, I think Jackson can have some great places without aspiring to Manhattan or Tokyo. Even though I am an unabashed New Orleans foodsnob, I'll admit those towns have more to offer. We celebrate what we have, right?

              1. re: jeffchow

                I moved to Jackson from NOLA and I have been very pleasantly surprised. If you can get around the fact that you aren't dining on St. Charles (and might be dining in a strip mall), the food is pretty good up here.

          2. A few come right to mind:
            Saigon on Lakeland Dr. for Vietnamese
            Alexander's in Madison (just off I-55) for Italian
            Strawberry Cafe in Madison (literally by the train tracks
            Thai House for Thai (off I-55 Frontage)
            El Rincon Latino in Pearl for unusually authentic Latin American food
            Tony's Tamales for some mmmmm good tamales
            Sal & Mookie's in Fondren (Jackson)
            Broad Street Baking Co. (I-55 Frontage)