I think that Jack's Grill has deteriorated since the ownership has changed. Not only has the menu increased in price, but the food has become boring and the staff rude.
I went there for dinner on my birthday a little while ago and when we asked for our bills to be separated the waiter flipped out. He proceeded to go back into the kitchen where we could all hear him perfectly well and start angrily swearing. He never came back out, so we payed our bills with another server and left.
A slow braised lamb shank can be sublime comfort food in a wintry Edmonton night. But it wasn't at Jack's yesterday
Fork Fest provided us with a low risk opportunity to sample the "new" Jack's , the current version of Jack’s Grill, an establishment that in its last years had been coasting on its reputation as one of the top eateries, a reputation established in the last century, soon after it opened in 1989.
We ordered the fixed price menu, starting with mussels with chorizo, followed by braised lamb shank with corn bread and vegetables, and with toffee pudding for dessert.
Temperature was an issue with the whole meal (except dessert) and I am not talking about the room. The mussels were tepid and unremarkable, their flavour overpowered by the smokiness of too much chorizo. The bread in the basket was good but it was slightly cold as if it had been recently been thawed sitting on the kitchen counter.
The braised lamb main looked good on the plate, with all the right colours: a nicely browned whole lamb shank flanked by a yellowish corn bread muffin, a miniature carrot, half a golden beet and a stem of broccoli. But the flavour was missing. The barely warm lamb was cooked long enough and “fell off the bone”, but it tasted flat, one-dimensional, and had no aroma. The vegetables were crisp but cold and the corn bread muffing was spongy. It was a rather underwhelming execution. The food was the junior partner to the inexpensive and assertive Argentinian Malbec we had ordered.
The toffee pudding desert was cloyingly sweet, and the crispy cookie, while providing some texture contrast, was even sweeter. The best part was the scoop of popcorn ice cream, sprinkled with tiny apple dice, which helped clean the palate.
The room is still nice, the service was competent, but the food reminded us of why we prefer to keep Jack’s Grill as one of our favourite memories, not restaurants.
(Note- Ryan Hotchkiss seems to have replaced Michelle DeLand as Chef)