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  Big Jones -- Southern heirloom cooking
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  • Big Jones -- Southern heirloom cooking

    Post #1 - March 6th, 2012, 12:47 pm
    Post #1 - March 6th, 2012, 12:47 pm Post #1 - March 6th, 2012, 12:47 pm
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    Big Jones bills itself as being “inspired by Southern heirloom cooking from New Orleans, the Gulf Coast, and the Carolina Lowcountry. We are inspired by the history and richness of Southern cooking. We use an abundance of local, seasonal, sustainable, and organic ingredients.” It's a unique and special restaurant in one of the best restaurant neighborhoods in the city.

    To me, it’s grown from being a great restaurant in my neighborhood to being my favorite restaurant in the city. I’ve celebrated birthdays, New Years, and anniversaries there. My wife and I have also made it our go-to place for an exceptional weekday dinner. The cooking is both rustic and refined. At a time when it seems every restaurant is trying to do a better version of the same thing everyone else is doing, Big Jones is original, especially through their efforts to introduce historical dishes and menus (such as the current Creole Lenten Dinner, ca. 1900; Chicken Clemenceau, c. 1925.)

    Big Jones has a long, positive history of discuss on LTH Forum. There were some growing pains, comparisons to restaurants in the South, and disappointing meals. Most people who have eaten there regularly have noted small hiccups with service or a particular dish. But overall the trend has been that more people have been going to Big Jones, greatly enjoying their meal, and posting about their experiences here.

    The main thread is viewtopic.php?f=14&t=18691

    Ronnie_suburban has posted some excellent photos of meals at Big Jones. His most recent is here.

    Other bits of praise include:

    Stephen wrote:if Chef Fehribach still reads this thread, I would like to thank him for the Peanut Soup I had earlier in the week. One of the best things I've eaten in a long time and not something I'll soon forget.


    LynnB wrote: Based on our dinner last night, I think this place has really found it's groove. The oyster stew I started with was a perfect warm-up coming in from the cold. Two large crispy croutons, topped with three plump lightly fried oysters and some grilled chickory were presented in a large bowl. Soup was poured in tableside. I really enjoyed this.
    Jonathan started with the crabcakes. He refused to share so all I can say is that they disappeared quickly.
    I had the Shrimp and Grits as my entree, a dish I came to love back when I worked at the late Soul Kitchen. Big Jones version was fantastic. Grits were the perfect consistency to my taste, the shrimp portion was generous and they were expertly cooked. The tasso gravy was addictive.


    ronnie_suburban wrote:For me, the bottom line is chef Fehribach can really cook. I've enjoyed his food enough times (at Big Jones and various events around town) to know this. That's what I come away with and that's why I'll continue to return to Big Jones. Is there some inconsistency at Big Jones? Of course there is. Please, name a restaurant where there isn't. When you eat out, you're never insulated from that.


    Big Jones has an excellent brunch menu (and you can make a reservation!). Some praise for their brunches includes

    RAB wrote:I don't think Big Jones gets enough love around here. Three of us enjoyed an excellent brunch there this past Sunday.

    Beignet amuse could have been a bit hotter and fresher, but still made my mouth happy.
    Our appetizer, boudin fritters with cayenne mayo and frisée, was richly flavored and outstanding; my favorite bite of the meal.
    Ronna loved her fried catfish and cheddar grits, topped with two sunny-side-up eggs.
    MiL and I each finished every bite of our Eggs New Orleans (basically, crab benedict - two popovers topped with crabcakes, poached eggs, and béarnaise). The popovers were fresh, slightly sweet, and really made this dish special.


    Recently the Boarding House lunch, cs. 1933, has received a lot of attention.

    spiffytriphy wrote:Highly recommend the family style fried chicken lunch! $16 per person. A LOT of food. Cornbread, biscuits, mashed potatoes, collard greens, black eyed peas and rice, and dessert (changes but ours was sweet potato pie with vanilla ice cream). There were three other tables that did the fried chicken lunch while we were there, and all of us had leftover chicken to take home. The chicken has a nice, thick, crunchy coating.



    ronnie_suburban wrote:This was some of most distinctive, flavorful and well-prepared fried chicken I can ever remember having. It was crispy, moist and utterly irresistible. As is fairly well-documented, the recipe is from Edna Lewis. The delicious lard biscuits were sensational also, with a crusty exterior and a light, break-apart interior. ….

    I absolutely loved this lunch. Yeah, it's damned decadent but every calorie consumed was worth it. Hell, even the crackers were exceptional. It's so nice to have food prepared by a kitchen that cares about cooking as much as I care about eating. This lunch was so good, I'd take a day off work if I had to, to have it again.


    dicksond wrote:Big Jones cheats. As I eyed, and then enjoyed my Fried Chicken, it was clear the collard greens were not run of the mill, stewed to surrender, but rather large, discrete leaves, individually cooked to perfection. This quality and attention to detail carried through in every bite of what stood out in my orgy of fried chicken as arguably the best fried chicken I have ever enjoyed. The crust was perfect, with a nuttiness and gentle seasoning that highlighted the chicken. Each piece was cooked perfectly, even the breasts were not too dry. The sides were delicious. If i were to make a criticism, it would be that they were a little too precious to really respect the tradition of the cuisine - but that would only apply if they were not truly delicious, and respected the flavor tradition so well.


    Big Jones also has an excellent cocktail selection. They recently introduced the Big Jones Bourbon Society, which entitles members to a sample of different whiskey every month. Some praise for their beverages include:

    Kennyz wrote:…With all the hooplah around town about absinthe and the New Orleans craze creating an Herbsaint mindset, it's become hard to damn near impossible to find a place that has Pastis. Even good French restaurants typically have only Pernod, not Pastis. So I was thrilled to see a bottle on the Big Jones bar last week. Big Jones stays open all afternoon and has wi-fi, and there may be no better way to spend a working afternoon than to sip Pastis while lounging and snacking at Big Jones.


    Paul Fehribach, the chef at Big Jones, has participated in LTH Forum nearly from the opening of his restaurant. A particularly thoughtful post that addresses questions about the restaurant is here.

    Big Jones is a unique contributor to the dining scene. That many of us look forward to the new things they introduce us to is a testament to the fact they are doing things exceptionally well.

    Big Jones
    5347 N. Clark Street
    Chicago IL 60640
    Phone: (773) 275-5725
    http://www.bigjoneschicago.com
    Email: bigjones@bigjoneschicago.com
    Monday–Thursday: 11am–9pm
    Friday: 11am–10pm
    Saturday: 9am–10pm
    Sunday: 9am–9pm
  • Post #2 - March 6th, 2012, 1:09 pm
    Post #2 - March 6th, 2012, 1:09 pm Post #2 - March 6th, 2012, 1:09 pm
    This one's a no-brainer. Its absence from the GNRs was glaring.
  • Post #3 - March 6th, 2012, 2:45 pm
    Post #3 - March 6th, 2012, 2:45 pm Post #3 - March 6th, 2012, 2:45 pm
    This is another one of those restaurants I expect to love and just don't.

    I've been a few times now but things have fallen either flat for me or worse.

    Again, this is another place I would love to have a great experience so I will try to get there while the nomination is open.

    I've watched the chef's demos at the Green City Market, I think more than once, and everything I had at the demos was lovely and excited me.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #4 - March 6th, 2012, 10:31 pm
    Post #4 - March 6th, 2012, 10:31 pm Post #4 - March 6th, 2012, 10:31 pm
    I must agree with Pairs. I went for dinner a few years ago, and had a very mediocre experience. Then a month ago I went to their fried chicken lunch, and found nothing particularly impressive. I was so underwhelmed that I didn't find the need to report. What made it worse was the dried out biscuits. Ouch. The chicken was good enough but far from the rich and crunchy chicken at the very best fried chicken place. Big Jones is adequate, but nowhere close to a great neighborhood restaurant.
    Toast, as every breakfaster knows, isn't really about the quality of the bread or how it's sliced or even the toaster. For man cannot live by toast alone. It's all about the butter. -- Adam Gopnik
  • Post #5 - March 6th, 2012, 11:32 pm
    Post #5 - March 6th, 2012, 11:32 pm Post #5 - March 6th, 2012, 11:32 pm
    Big Jones is one of the most distinctive and important places in town. It's the epitome of a chef-driven restaurant. Chef Fehribach's intense commitment to quality is apparent at every level. Cooking is consistently done at a very high level. Ingredients are top-notch There's a respect for -- but no finger-wagging about -- authenticity. He's committed to local and seasonal sourcing when it makes sense and again, there's no finger-wagging about it. He has a philosophy by which he runs the place and it's comfortably embodied in his restaurant; his canvas. This is where he creates a unique cuisine that is a seamless synthesis of Southern-regional cooking and (mostly) Midwestern ingredients. He also happens to be a helluva nice guy which, for me, is no small detail when considering the worthiness of a prospective GNR.

    He crafts ingredients from hand that other chefs routinely purchase. His hand-made andouille and tasso, for example, are stellar. He's got a depth of knowledge that a lot of other local chefs would have trouble even faking; butchery being just one instance. Heck, even his restaurant's bar is better than most bars. The food at Big Jones is delicious. Not every single thing I've eaten there has been perfect but a vast majority of it has been memorable and excellent. Big Jones' fried chicken is among the best I can remember having at any Chicago restaurant. I love eating there and am truly grateful that we have it here in town. I'd confidently recommend it to a local or a visitor . . . and then be envious that I wasn't joining them for their meal. :wink: If it were gone (perish the thought), it'd be a huge loss for our city.

    Big Jones is easily a GNR, IMO.

    =R=
    I am not interested in how I would evaluate the Springbank in a blind tasting. Every spirit has its story, and I include it in my evaluation, just as I do with human beings. --Thad Vogler

    I'll be the tastiest pork cutlet bowl ever --Yuri Katsuki

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #6 - March 7th, 2012, 3:49 pm
    Post #6 - March 7th, 2012, 3:49 pm Post #6 - March 7th, 2012, 3:49 pm
    I'm definitely in support of this nomination. Big Jones made its way into our regular rotation a couple of years ago. Great service too - well-informed, friendly, and enthusiastic about the menu.
  • Post #7 - March 8th, 2012, 3:49 pm
    Post #7 - March 8th, 2012, 3:49 pm Post #7 - March 8th, 2012, 3:49 pm
    If a single fantastic meal eaten there qualifies, count me as a yes. There are so many great restaurants I would like to get to when I travel into the city that there is no way I can go to most more than once. I would certainly dine at Big Jones again after getting to all the others on my must go to list.
    I just want to eat what I want and be left alone.
  • Post #8 - March 9th, 2012, 9:10 am
    Post #8 - March 9th, 2012, 9:10 am Post #8 - March 9th, 2012, 9:10 am
    I enthusiastically support Big Jones as a GNR. Before deciding to nominate Aroy for a GNR last year, I'd considered nominating Big Jones. I ultimately went with Aroy because I found it be more consistent than Big Jones are more of what a GNR is to me. But, in the last year, I've had several meals at Big Jones that reminded me of why I'd considered it in the first place.

    Foremost in my mind is a weekday lunch I had last fall. A friend and I arrived around noon and sat for nearly four hours in a mostly empty restaurant, enjoying our meal and catching up. The service couldn't have been better and we never felt like the restaurant wanted us to leave. And then there was the food. The fried chicken, as others have documented, is stellar, among the best I've ever had - - right up there with my memories of chicken in Charleston, SC. The sides, biscuits, and cornbread were nearly as good. My friend is still talking about it.

    I also think Big Jones serves one of the best brunches in town, and I **LOVE** that they take reservations. I rarely go out for brunch, and when I do, Big Jones is usually right up there with the Publican on the top of my list.

    Besides how the food tastes, I'm also a fan of Paul's food philosophy - - his focus on using the best quality local ingredients where possible, changing up the menu items, and not messing too much with the ingredients. And, when I've talked to him, even away from his restaurant, it's apparent how passionate he is about what he does and not being just another farm-to-table restaurant.

    While I've had both hits and misses over the years, it's the hits that I remember and they greatly outnumber the misses. And, given that the misses are often a factor in a kitchen with an ever-changing menu, I'm happy to "suffer" through a few misses along the way because Paul and his kitchen are capable of some really stellar food.

    Great nomination!

    Ronna
    Last edited by REB on March 9th, 2012, 9:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #9 - March 9th, 2012, 9:38 am
    Post #9 - March 9th, 2012, 9:38 am Post #9 - March 9th, 2012, 9:38 am
    Me too, especially what Ronna and Ronnie say above, so I don't have to reiterate all of that. What I will add, one of the things that make Big Jones and especially great, great neighborhood restaurant (and one of the key reasons I wish it was a lot closer to me), is the incredible value of Big Jones. Most of the times I've gone here have been for special meals/special menus like the Edna Lewis dinner or a New Year's Eve dinner one time. I am always struck by these menus by the deals they are, and then when I have them, I find that I was wrong. They are even better deals than I thought they'd be.

    Hey, I'm all for the idea of paying a bit more for quality food, and I willingly support places from Edzo's to Longman to Nightwood that charge a bit but provide better. And I'm not disparaging those places when I say this about Big Jones, but Big Jones really does provide a great deal.

    Woot to its GNR nomination.
  • Post #10 - March 9th, 2012, 12:32 pm
    Post #10 - March 9th, 2012, 12:32 pm Post #10 - March 9th, 2012, 12:32 pm
    I really can't add much beyond what Ronna posted. We love Big Jones. I especially admire Chef Fehribach's commitment to authentic Southern "receipts" and the proper sourcing of the ingredients - and thereby supporting and preserving various heirloom products that might otherwise disappear. He takes basic staples of the Southern menu and elevates them significantly - the voodoo greens and peas and rice being prime examples. Really the "sides" are so good at Big Jones I could happily have a "meat and 3" style meal with just the "3" - and I'm a committed carnivore. Enthusiastic support here for Big Jones as a GNR.
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #11 - March 9th, 2012, 1:19 pm
    Post #11 - March 9th, 2012, 1:19 pm Post #11 - March 9th, 2012, 1:19 pm
    One of my favorite places and without clumsily rehashing everything already said, yes.
  • Post #12 - March 9th, 2012, 3:37 pm
    Post #12 - March 9th, 2012, 3:37 pm Post #12 - March 9th, 2012, 3:37 pm
    So many positive reviews have me wondering if we hit an off night. A group of us visited Big Jones last night and unfortunately the food wasn't great.

    We started off with the tasso ham which was spicy but balanced. One of the highlights of the meal. I liked that the menu featured items like tete de cochon and boudin rouge that you don't see on the umpteen charcuterie menus that have popped up over town recently.

    For entrees we split the gumbo, fried catfish, and the eezy peezy. The fried catfish was the best of the three, but pretty ordinary on the whole. It was lightly breaded and not greasy, but the breading lacked any flavor, very unlike fried catfish I've had in the south. The grits and voodoo greens (vinegary bitter greens, quite good) were very nice accompaniments and made each spoonful of the dish interesting, but I would've like the main attraction to stand better on its own. The hush puppies that were served on the side were pretty bad though. Dense, dry, flavorless. Damn shame, I love hush puppies.

    The other two entrees were pretty bad. The gumbo was thin and lifeless. They warned us when we ordered that it was made with a dark roux that's pretty bitter. This perked me up because it sounded like something I would love. Unfortunately, I think they watered down that rich roux, leaving a loose and remarkably flavorless gumbo. The eezy peezy was shocking. It was poorly constructed and looked unappealing from the moment it hit the table. The grilled veggies were nice, but a little greasy. The eezy peezy amounted to two bean cakes that were dense and simple. It really wasn't an impressive dish for $17. Felt more like an appetizer clumsily spread out on a bigger plate. We ordered a side of the chicken-fried cauliflower that was pretty good. The breading on it was well-seasoned and the cauliflower had a nice crunch. It's served on a bed of cheesy grits making for a delicious end to the meal (since it came out after our entrees).

    Based on what I've read, Big Jones is lauded for its approach to food. They use fresh ingredients, heritage recipes (as noted on their menu), and the passion of the chef is obvious. Unfortunately, my first meal there seemed to lack the richness and earthiness of southern cuisine. Maybe his apporach isn't for me, or maybe we visited on an off night. Hard to say.
  • Post #13 - March 9th, 2012, 3:46 pm
    Post #13 - March 9th, 2012, 3:46 pm Post #13 - March 9th, 2012, 3:46 pm
    Count me with the folks who wasnt blown away by Big Jones.

    Thought the food was executed well, good service, etc. but as it ended up there was nothing I had in that single visit that had me rushing to get back in the past 12 months or so, or even considering going back now. I posted more thorough thoughts on the original thread, my 3/5/2011 post.

    Nice place, just not a GNR to me.
    Last edited by jimswside on March 9th, 2012, 4:02 pm, edited 3 times in total.
    R.I.P. jimswside - 5/2/16



    @GrubSeeker
  • Post #14 - March 9th, 2012, 3:51 pm
    Post #14 - March 9th, 2012, 3:51 pm Post #14 - March 9th, 2012, 3:51 pm
    turkob wrote:So many positive reviews have me wondering if we hit an off night. A group of us visited Big Jones last night and unfortunately the food wasn't great.

    We started off with the tasso ham which was spicy but balanced. One of the highlights of the meal. I liked that the menu featured items like tete de cochon and boudin rouge that you don't see on the umpteen charcuterie menus that have popped up over town recently.

    For entrees we split the gumbo, fried catfish, and the eezy peezy. The fried catfish was the best of the three, but pretty ordinary on the whole. It was lightly breaded and not greasy, but the breading lacked any flavor, very unlike fried catfish I've had in the south. The grits and voodoo greens (vinegary bitter greens, quite good) were very nice accompaniments and made each spoonful of the dish interesting, but I would've like the main attraction to stand better on its own. The hush puppies that were served on the side were pretty bad though. Dense, dry, flavorless. Damn shame, I love hush puppies.

    The other two entrees were pretty bad. The gumbo was thin and lifeless. They warned us when we ordered that it was made with a dark roux that's pretty bitter. This perked me up because it sounded like something I would love. Unfortunately, I think they watered down that rich roux, leaving a loose and remarkably flavorless gumbo. The eezy peezy was shocking. It was poorly constructed and looked unappealing from the moment it hit the table. The grilled veggies were nice, but a little greasy. The eezy peezy amounted to two bean cakes that were dense and simple. It really wasn't an impressive dish for $17. Felt more like an appetizer clumsily spread out on a bigger plate. We ordered a side of the chicken-fried cauliflower that was pretty good. The breading on it was well-seasoned and the cauliflower had a nice crunch. It's served on a bed of cheesy grits making for a delicious end to the meal (since it came out after our entrees).

    Based on what I've read, Big Jones is lauded for its approach to food. They use fresh ingredients, heritage recipes (as noted on their menu), and the passion of the chef is obvious. Unfortunately, my first meal there seemed to lack the richness and earthiness of southern cuisine. Maybe his apporach isn't for me, or maybe we visited on an off night. Hard to say.
    Too bad about your dinner. We've had many misses at Big Jones, and mainly at dinner. I think they really shine at brunch and lunch. Dinner is more of a mixed bag to me, for whatever reason. I think it's just one of those places where some things are great and some aren't. Unfortunately, you don't always know which you're going to get. That said, Big Jones wouldn't be the only GNR where some things are far better than others. I hope you'll give it another try, hopefully during the daytime.

    Ronna
  • Post #15 - March 9th, 2012, 4:11 pm
    Post #15 - March 9th, 2012, 4:11 pm Post #15 - March 9th, 2012, 4:11 pm
    REB wrote:
    turkob wrote:So many positive reviews have me wondering if we hit an off night. A group of us visited Big Jones last night and unfortunately the food wasn't great.

    We started off with the tasso ham which was spicy but balanced. One of the highlights of the meal. I liked that the menu featured items like tete de cochon and boudin rouge that you don't see on the umpteen charcuterie menus that have popped up over town recently.

    For entrees we split the gumbo, fried catfish, and the eezy peezy. The fried catfish was the best of the three, but pretty ordinary on the whole. It was lightly breaded and not greasy, but the breading lacked any flavor, very unlike fried catfish I've had in the south. The grits and voodoo greens (vinegary bitter greens, quite good) were very nice accompaniments and made each spoonful of the dish interesting, but I would've like the main attraction to stand better on its own. The hush puppies that were served on the side were pretty bad though. Dense, dry, flavorless. Damn shame, I love hush puppies.

    The other two entrees were pretty bad. The gumbo was thin and lifeless. They warned us when we ordered that it was made with a dark roux that's pretty bitter. This perked me up because it sounded like something I would love. Unfortunately, I think they watered down that rich roux, leaving a loose and remarkably flavorless gumbo. The eezy peezy was shocking. It was poorly constructed and looked unappealing from the moment it hit the table. The grilled veggies were nice, but a little greasy. The eezy peezy amounted to two bean cakes that were dense and simple. It really wasn't an impressive dish for $17. Felt more like an appetizer clumsily spread out on a bigger plate. We ordered a side of the chicken-fried cauliflower that was pretty good. The breading on it was well-seasoned and the cauliflower had a nice crunch. It's served on a bed of cheesy grits making for a delicious end to the meal (since it came out after our entrees).

    Based on what I've read, Big Jones is lauded for its approach to food. They use fresh ingredients, heritage recipes (as noted on their menu), and the passion of the chef is obvious. Unfortunately, my first meal there seemed to lack the richness and earthiness of southern cuisine. Maybe his apporach isn't for me, or maybe we visited on an off night. Hard to say.
    Too bad about your dinner. We've had many misses at Big Jones, and mainly at dinner. I think they really shine at brunch and lunch. Dinner is more of a mixed bag to me, for whatever reason. I think it's just one of those places where some things are great and some aren't. Unfortunately, you don't always know which you're going to get. That said, Big Jones wouldn't be the only GNR where some things are far better than others. I hope you'll give it another try, hopefully during the daytime.

    Ronna


    Funny,

    I had a lovely meal last night. The food was both distinctive, chicken-fried cauliflower, and memorable, Reezy Peasy ca 1730, and quite good, those eggy corn muffins.

    I'm glad I went back and look forward to visiting again.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #16 - March 18th, 2012, 5:46 pm
    Post #16 - March 18th, 2012, 5:46 pm Post #16 - March 18th, 2012, 5:46 pm
    We tried the brunch today at Big Jones. This was our first trip there, and while I liked it I'm not sure I'm sold on it as a GNR.

    There were three of us and we ordered entirely too much food. The scone was enough to serve probably 4 people and we also ordered the biscuits (which I thought were really good). These baked goods, on top of the gratis beignets, left me pretty full before our main courses even showed up.

    For my main course I had the rice waffles with crispy duck confit and two sunny side up eggs. I thought all components of the dish were well made, but were sort of strangely put together. It was basically one really big waffle cut in half. The eggs were on one half of the waffle on one side of the plate and the duck was on the other half of the waffle on the other side of the plate. What really could have pushed the dish over the top, at least in my opinion, is if everything were a little better integrated. It was still really good, but just short of great.

    Our waitress was friendly, and a little flighty, and definitely a low talker which took some getting used to.

    Anyway, if I lived closer to Big Jones I'd probably be motivated to get back sooner. As it is, I'm not really in a rush to get back as there was nothing there that I really see myself craving. Since I've always been a bit fuzzy about what should and should not be a GNR I think that's the personal benchmark I'm going to use (since all of the GNRs that I really agree with have items that I crave and would drop everything to go eat given the chance). Big Jones fell just short of that mark for me.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #17 - April 1st, 2012, 6:29 pm
    Post #17 - April 1st, 2012, 6:29 pm Post #17 - April 1st, 2012, 6:29 pm
    Early on, I never could have imagined Big Jones ever being considered for a GNR nomination. I was certainly a vocal critic in Big Jones' early days and after having had a couple of very disappointing meals there, I had nearly written it off. But something definitely changed at Big Jones a couple of years ago and the food is now consistently good, sometimes even better. As such, I've been there many, many times in the last couple of years, even a few times this year (but not including a fine NYE dinner there). And I can now say that I'm a pretty big fan of Big Jones - I love southern food and there are very few choices in Chicago.

    But as big of fan of Big Jones as I've become, I'm not ready to declare it a GNR, although there would be a number of reasons to support it for this recognition. First, I love the staff and their service - just terrific. Second, I love the ambition and commitment - constantly changing menu, great ingredients, and so much thought that goes into every menu.

    But I find that Big Jones misses in a couple of categories. First, I think dessert at Big Jones almost always underwhelms. One exception was a meyer lemon-yuzu meringue tart, which I thought was terrific. Many dessert offerings sound good but are not nearly as well executed. I don't know if Big Jones has a dedicated pastry chef, but when it comes to dessert at Big Jones, I'm generally of the opinion that it doesn't measure up. Some may view dessert as a less critical element of dinner, but at a restaurant that I consider more of a 3-course-type restaurant (appetizer, entree, dessert), I believe it is a critical element.

    I also believe that there are still some significant consistency issues at Big Jones with respect to the non-dessert portion of the menu. Just a couple of recent examples: a merely average turtle soup, bbq shrimp where the sauce was terrific but the shrimp were well overcooked, and shrimp and grits where the accompanying gravy still changes dramatically in flavor from one visit to another. And from posts on the thread, I gather that I'm not the only person that has experienced such inconsistencies, as evidenced by the discussion of a winter cassoulet.

    So I'll say that I'm a big fan of Big Jones and I really love a lot of what they are doing. And I'm still dying to try the fried chicken lunch. But as much as I want to say yes to this nomination, I can't . . . not just yet.
  • Post #18 - April 1st, 2012, 10:42 pm
    Post #18 - April 1st, 2012, 10:42 pm Post #18 - April 1st, 2012, 10:42 pm
    I like the vibe at Big Jones. I've enjoyed several good cocktails there before good meals. It's a place that makes Mr. X very happy. It feels like a GNR to me.
    -Mary

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