Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Jack's Grill - Another pricey misadventure (CLOSED)

Prosecco to start
Jack’s Grill is another one of those places that whether or not they've been there, people list off when you ask what’s a nice place to take someone for a special occasion. Although we have had very few hits and mostly misses when it comes to food related Groupons, we figured nothing ventured, nothing gained, particularly since we knew a meal at Jack’s Grill would be pricey regardless.

Braised pork belly
Located in the Lendrum Place strip mall, the restaurant is easily missed unless you are looking for it. The restaurant was fairly busy that evening, with several larger groups taking up the bulk of the restaurant, and a smattering of mostly older, grey haired diners scattered about. We were seated at a booth beside the kitchen and quickly glanced around for younger diners, finding only one other couple that was also checking about for someone closer in age and seemed relieved to spot us.

Drawing pictures during the long wait
What we didn’t know was this was the start of a very slow evening. Having placed our drink order with the host, and given the menu immediately, it would be a 20 minute wait before our server appeared to tell us about the specials, by which point we were more than ready to order.

We started with the braised pork belly appetizer, which had a herb French toast, grilled asparagus, apple reduction and a poached egg. The asparagus was crispy and flavorful, and the poached egg was spot on, oozing everywhere when cut open. These elements were clearly the stars of this plate while the pork belly, which should have shined, was a bit overcooked and chewy. On it’s own, the French toast had little flavor, but went well with the slightly sweet apple reduction and creamy goodness of the oozy egg yolk.
Glazed duck breast

Starving by this point since the appetizer wasn’t very large, I began to become concerned the humans might eat the Moo, as I anxiously looked at the clock waiting for our mains to arrive. Over an hour and twenty minutes after our arrival at the restaurant, we got our mains and were sorely disappointed at what we received after enduring such a long wait.

EEK! Feeb!
The glazed duck breast with herb gnocchi, squash puree and five spice reduction was cooked medium rare as requested, but the crust on it was overly salty and peppery, with some pieces having a lot of crust on them and others virtually none at all. The sauce on the duck was very nice and mildly sweet. The squash puree was bland and the gnocchi was extremely dense and hard instead of pillow light as they should have been.

Upside down creme brulee with mini apple pie

The female hum had ordered a medium rare Spring Creek striploin with rosti, braised cabbage, and grainy mustard sherry reduction sauce. Although the steak looked medium rare, she said it was very very dry, as well as extremely peppery and salty, so much so that she was actually able to pinch a sizeable amount of salt and pepper off the top. The rosti was nice and crispy, but extremely salty and after two or three bites, I had to give up on it as it became saltier the more I ate. Although we had told both the host and the server that the steak was dry, with too much pepper and salt, the only response we received to this feedback was the server saying he would inform the chef, and the host responding with “I’m glad to hear the meal is good!”….  I am not certain how he interpreted us saying the meal to this point was ok and an over seasoned steak as good…  but perhaps he doesn’t understand Moo-ese or wasn’t sure how to respond to a faux fur bovine dining at his restaurant?

Too thick of a shell to bite through
Their regular smores crème brulee was unavailable that evening, so we ordered their special upside crème brulee with mini apple pie instead. The mini apple pie was quite good, warm, with just the right amount of cinnamon, and tender pastry that gave way easily. The upside down crème brulee however had an extremely thick and hard shell that was not easily cracked, and was inedible, unless you were willing to sacrifice a tooth. What remained once freed from it’s shell resembled a very dense, flavorless crème caramel.

Even with an $80 Groupon, we still wound up paying an additional $60 for a very long, very disappointing meal. Had the service been quicker and more attentive, and the food not over seasoned or over cooked, it would have been more enjoyable. Although they could be having an off night due to the large groups they were serving that evening, their prices are far too high for me to consider returning to find out if the bad food and slow service was a result of being overwhelmed by the number of diners in their restaurant that evening.

Jack's Grill
5842 111 Street NW
Edmonton, AB  T6H 3G1
Twitter: @jacksgrillyeg

UPDATED (March 16, 2013): CLOSED

Jack's Grill on Urbanspoon

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