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« Stay safe, my fellow East Coasters! | Main | One week. Two fetes. Celebrating Sirio Maccioni »
Friday
Oct262012

Brunch at Jacob's Pickles: Funny name...Serious Grub

  • Restaurant  Jacob's Pickles
  • Cuisine  American, Southern, comfort food
  • Location  509 Amsterdam Avenue (between 84th & 85th Streets), Manhattan
  • Phone  212-470-5566
  • Directions  Hopstop
  • Atmosphere  spacious, urban, warm
  • Attire  casual
  • Ideal for  1x1, groups, foodies, outdoor dining, dine at the bar, full bar, products for purchase, brunch, dog-friendly, kid-friendly
  • Price  affordable to moderate
  • Jacob's Pickles on Urbanspoon

Rachel's birthday was the perfect excuse for me to trek over to her Upper West Side neighborhood and *finally* try Jacob's Pickles.  Since I had to miss her celebratory happy hour the night before - and because she already had dinner plans on Saturday evening - I told her that I would treat her to a birthday brunch.

With about 10-minutes to spare before her arrival, I figured that I'd wait for Rachel at JP's (Jacob's Pickles) bar.  It turns out, I was seated next to the owner's family, who hails from Cyprus.  As nice as they were, I just couldn't help but wonder, What does a dude from Cyprus know about Southern/American comfort cuisine?  I guess I would soon find out... 

While the handsome bartender whipped-up my margarita, I couldn't help but admire JP's ample space:  Indoor and outdoor seating - tall, exposed-brick walls and overhead piping - clean, urban/industrial-chic decor - plenty of natural light - and an overall warm, friendly aura.  It's the kind of restaurant/bar where you could linger about for hours on end.  I had a feeling that I was really going to like this place...

Tart and tangy, with the perfect amount of salt and bite. I loved that my margarita was served in a mason jar!A view from my bar stoolHappy dinersWhen Rachel arrived, we were promptly seated at a cozy two-top towards the back of the elevated dining room.  After wishing her 'happy birthday,' we were greeted by our friendly, knowledgeable server who presented us with menus. 

From the 'Honey Chicken & Pickles' Southern biscuit sandwich, to the Biscuit Cheeseburger and Fried Pickles, Rachel and I were completely stumped as to what to order.  There were just way too many drool-inducing choices!  So, with the help of our server, we ultimately chose to split:  Biscuits French Toast and the The Coop Platter.

Due to an overwhelming holdup in the kitchen, Rachel and I did not receive our food for about 45-minutes (post placing our order).  Our server, completely aware of how long everything was taking, apologized multiple times and even comped a round of drinks.  She was so gracious, accommodating, and understanding, without us having to ever question or complain about the delay.  I appreciated her anticipation of potential frustration and respect for our time.

Biscuits French Toast

JP's biscuits are baked in to perfect squares that measure about 1' thick.  So, to make their Biscuits French toast, two biscuit "squares" are each cut at a diagonal, in to the shape of four triangles.  Each half is then bathed in a traditional egg/milk mixture and griddled with butter.  An array of fresh strawberry halves and powdered sugar both crowns and completes the dish.

Although they tasted more like plain old biscuits than moist and gooey French toast, I thought that the brains/creation/initial idea behind this dish was an absolute creative marvel.  If the kitchen had only shaved off the crunchy exterior of the biscuit, exposing its porous interior, more of the egg/milk bath could have been soaked in to its crevices.  Thus creating that idyllic creamy interior. 

...

The Coop Platter

For a mere $15, 'The Coop Platter' was composed of:  Three perfectly-fried eggs, two house-made breakfast sausage patties, three slices of Niman Ranch bacon, cheese grits, home fries, a biscuit, and a side of sausage gravy (that I requested). 

Rachel and I barely made a dent in this lumber jack-sized portion of grub, but that's not to say we didn't enjoy it.  Because I found that each savory element (on the plate) came together magically.  Beautifully, in fact.  'The Coop,' my friends, is the ultimate brunch platter.  I mean, aside from something sweet, what more could you possibly want?

From the juicy, robust house-made sausage, to the grits infused with pungent cheddar cheese, every item on the 'Platter was sheer perfection.  I especially loved the gravy, infused with fragrant herbs and chock-full of homemade breakfast sausage chunks, which I used to drown my half of the biscuit.

Considering the price of this platter versus the amount of food, 'The Coop' just may be the best brunch deal in town...

Having excused myself from the table to "use the ladies room," I actually snuck off to inform our server that we were celebrating Rachel's birthday.  She smiled and assured me, "I won't let you down." Hee hee...

Moments after we received our check, our server reappeared and surprised Rachel with a candle-lit dessert:  FRIED OREO COOKIES!!

Instead of being breaded with a tempura batter, the Oreos were enveloped by crunchy panko, and served with cinnamon-spiced whipped cream (for dipping).

Now, it's been years since I've indulged in this devilishly, ridiculously delicious/bad-for-you dessert but, let me just say this:  JP's version of Fried Oreos is worth every last calorie.  Period.

How bad do you want a bite of that?To conclude:  I was very impressed by every aspect of my brunch experience at JP.  From the stellar service and warm atmosphere, to the fantastic eats, JP is a winner that I plan on returning to ASAP.  Like Momoya, ilili, and Rubirosa before it, I suspect that JP will find itself in my "I broke my own rules by returning to the same restaurant over and over again!" rotation.  I can hardly wait to get my hands on that Biscuit Cheeseburger!

Oh, and to answer my own question, "What does a dude from Cyprus know about Southern/American comfort cuisine?"  A lot.  A whole heck of a lot!  

~~~

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle

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