I heart Jaynes Gastropub. There is something comforting about this place that makes me want to keep visiting. The restaurant is cute, quaint and located in one of the best foodie neighborhoods there is, North Park. I love the fact that I actually see Jayne herself running the restaurant, ensuring that everyone is taken care of. I love that they promote their specials via their website blog and other social media outlets, like Twitter (@jaynesgastropub - follow them).
With that, I have visited twice with the same favorite buddies of mine, my hubby and our good friend, Q. This review is LONG overdue.... enjoy!
Q, Mike and I celebrated the New Year by visiting Jaynes for the first time at the end of January 2010. Jaynes was a suggestion by Q who stated that this was the favorite restaurant of one of our former directors at our organization. As I reviewed the menu online (of course), the courses were simple and the descriptions made my mouth water. I love entree descriptions on menus. I was completely ready to experience something new!
We were on our way to meet Q in North Park and I did a major faux pas. I FORGOT MY CAMERA. I mean, come on -- food blogging is my "second job" and forgetting the camera was like arriving to my current job 30 minutes late wearing a tube top, heels, and a mini skirt. A total "no-no". I was so bummed! Q didn't have a digital camera so Mike suggested that I use my cell phone camera. *SIGH* And, here we go....
[sorry ol' cell phone pic #1]
Q suggested that we start off sharing the artisan cheese plate that comes with a variety of fresh cheeses, grilled baguette, caperberries, honeycomb, crispy sliced apples, and a tiny tin cup of nuts. I forgot exactly what cheeses we sampled but I am certain there was white cheddar and a type of bleu cheese. It was the perfect start to our meal. There were two caperberries and three of us, so the guys ate one. I thought that it was some sort of olive, but nope, they actually are caper buds (same capers used in tartar sauce, with smoked salmon, fish dishes, etc) that are pickled.
[sorry ol' cell phone pic #2]
Mike ordered the fish & steamed clams for his dinner entree. Because it was over 10 months since we first visited, I forgot the name of the fish that accompanied the clams - *boo*. I do remember how the fish was cooked perfectly and was super fresh tasting. The clams in the broth were absolutely delicious and the broth had the right hint of saltiness to mimic "the sea". Yummers.
[sorry ol' cell phone pic #3]
Q ordered the grilled polenta with fresh vegetables with a smoke pepper coulis. I had a bite of the polenta cake with the coulis and veggies. It was very good for a vegetarian dish. The polenta was "mealy" and I can see how the plate can be filling with the absence of meat.
[sorry ol' cell phone pic #4]
NOW, my dish... steak frites. Everyone who knows me knows that I'm all about meat, especially red meat. There's nothing like a good plate of meat and potatoes, especially with crispy french fries? Yes, please! Jaynes' steak frites comes with a Niman Ranch flat iron steak, frites, salsa verde (mixture of green, fresh herbs) and braised greens. The flat iron steak, aka top blade steak, was juicy and DELICIOUS. Because top blade steaks come from the shoulder of the cow, it is a very tender cut of meat. And... it sure was! The frites were not as crispy as I wanted them to be, but they still were fried potatoes that were good enough to keep my hungry tummy happy.
OK, the cell phone situation: My phone was an ancient flip phone - a non-smartphone (I recently just got a smartphone). So, although the pics came out after trying to point and shoot in the plain darkness (it even didn't have a light to guide me), I guess they didn't come out "that" bad. Still, though... they are sorry ol' cell phone pics to me! *smirk*
[pretty roses on the table on the outside patio]
It was a lovely July afternoon where Q, Mike and I returned to Jaynes with one goal in mind. BURGER QUEST CANDIDATE. Because I have not been reviewing the burgers on my quest list on my blog (I've been rating in secret), I will simply post pretty pictures of the Jaynes burger and review the other meals.
We started off with the white bean puree + crostini that was accompanied by succulent house grilled peppers.
The white bean puree reminded me of hummus because of the creamy consistency and the presence of a good olive oil. It did have a similar taste to hummus. Mmm, the puree simply melted in my mouth.
The grilled peppers looked pretty in the dish - sweet red, orange, and yellow peppers were happily grilled and waiting for us to devour with the crunchy crostini and white bean puree.
I made the perfect bite and took a picture before munching on it. Both of the flavors went well together. I enjoyed the crunch of every bite of the warm crostini.
I took this picture to capture the name of the burger, but it just so happens that you can also see the menu items of what Mike and Q ordered.
If I was not rating the burger this evening, I would have definitely gotten this lovely plate of food. Q ordered the sea bass fish and chips. Hot and crispy. I watched Q as he took his fork into the flaky fish and it "crunched." It was like music to my ears. I did not have a taste of his fish, but I did have a sugar snap pea that I believe, was sauteed in olive oil and garlic. Can I say that I can eat a whole bowl of these, like while I am watching a movie at home?? They were cooked enough to have the subtle flavor of garlic in every pea and kept the fresh taste and crunch. I absolutely loved these. Guests can order the sauteed peas as a side. Next time I go, they will most definitely be on "my side".
The hubby ordered the pecan crusted albacore tuna that came with saffron scented Israel cous cous and a red pepper coulis. It was a perfect dish for a warm summer evening. It was a beautiful presentation too. I enjoyed the texture of seared tuna, especially with the pecans to add more contrast. The red pepper coulis was sweet and delicious.
Ta-da... the Jayne burger. Niman Ranch ground beef, Vermont white cheddar, pickled onions, and garlic aioli.
[closer view of the burger]
Another great meal at Jaynes. Because I subscribe to their blog, I have been tempted by their fried chicken, gourmet hot dogs, schnitzel with mac n' cheese, and the full, yes, FULL English breakfast that they now offer on Sundays. Unfortunately, I have yet to try all of these goodies, but I absolutely will in the near future.
Hope all is well, Jayne & Jon -- thanks for everything!