St. Jack and Pepe Le Moko
Had dinner last night at St. Jack. This was our 3rd time to the restaurant (second time at the new location). I really want to like this place more than I do...we have trouble finding menu items we are interested in.
Went during Happy Hour and had 2 butter lettuce salads and a goat cheese/fromage blanc spread. Both were tasty. The salads were simple but well dressed. We also ordered off the regular menu: a duck confit with warm lentil salad and a marinated baby octopus dish. The octopus dish had a great presentation in a large scallop shell set on crushed ice. The octopus had diced peppers and shallots. Seasoning and preparation fine, just not our favorite dish. The duck confit/lentil dish was great and we would have that again any day!
Love, love, love the cocktails! Had the Jack Manhattan (something like that) which is very well-balanced and comes with your choice of garnish: orange peel AND cherry. And the excess drink is kept cold in a cute little carafe set in crunched ice.
Again, love the cocktails, love the setting and location, still puzzled why some of the food just doesn't appeal to us (not that we have tried a ton of dishes, mind you). I'm sure we will be going back, though to try some more.
We then turned our attention to Pepe Le Moko. First time there. It IS small and dark, but not crowded last night. We shared the Hotel Nationale, which was well-made and well-balanced. And had some quicos (basically homemade corn nuts - great!) and tried 2 sandwiches. I get that they can't make a ton of food, but the sandwiches were out of balance. No filling to speak of, just bread. Charge me more and put some stuff between the bread!! Would not order those again until they fix that.
We then decided to do the frozen Grasshopper. OK, I could have one of these daily (except then I wouldn't be able to fit in the bar eventually).
Really liked the atmosphere. We will go back for bar snacks and drinks again.
Very interesting report, cob, and timely as I am debating whether to give St Jack a go on our upcoming trip. My takeaway from you and other commenters is that the cocktails are the standout there.
Also thinking of hitting up PLM after Langbaan but will pass on snacks (not that we'll be hungry).
For what it is worth, I am comparing a little to Little Bird, which we just seem to enjoy more. At Little Bird, we usually have to pare down our order because so many things look good. At St. Jack, so far, it is the other way around. Many things just don't seem to appeal to us (but maybe we have to expand our minds a little).
For example, this last time, the mains that were offered were poutine with duck confit and duck gravy (just not a fan of gravy on fries), steak frites (usually don't order steak out at restaurants), clams, and the burger (which I did not think was all that great at a previous visit). The smaller sides seem to be the way to go. And a large part of their dinner menu is devoted to cheeses, which I love, but don't usually make a large part of my meals out at restaurants (I want the restaurant to fix something for me ;-) ).
I would be curious what you think if you go, since I seem to recall you liked Little Bird as well.
That's the bar menu, though. There are twice as many entree choices (which are, granted, still not a huge number) on the regular dinner menu, as well as twice as many first course options, plus there is often a special or two. I do not know if they let you order from the full menu in the bar or not...