It was fun having lunch at Big Jones this week with friends, including a few who were visiting from out of town. They absolutely loved it. And having just returned from Charleston, SC myself, it was great to see just how well chef Fehribach's food stacked up with what I ate when I was there. Normally, the Boarding House Lunch must be ordered by everyone at the table but we ordered so many other items, the kitchen gave us a pass and let us order it for 2. That allowed us to also sample a bevy of other items from the menu . . .Cornbread
I love this rendition and 7 days in South Carolina never led me near one that was even close to this delicious.Boucherie Plate |
Acadian Andouille, Smoky, Spicy Tasso, Boudin Rouge, Tête de Cochon Cajun-style, Creamy Liver Pâté, assorted house pickles and breadstuffs
It's a shame that Big Jones' charcuterie program doesn't get more attention because it's really sensational. In a town where this craft has been exploding, the items being made in this kitchen are top tier. The tete de cochon had some very assertive touches, including whole black peppercorns, which initially had me a bit nervous. I should have known better. They were masterfully incorporated and when chewed whole, they accented the rich, fatty pork perfectly. Everything else on this platter was excellent, too, including the widely varying pickles, which each had a very distinctive flavor and texture. Chicken Fried Royal Trumpet Mushrooms
These meaty planks of shroom were incredibly tasty, especially with the rich gravy, which incorporated grits.Pea Soup with Ham and Ramps
I'm a split pea soup fiend and we almost didn't order this because sharing soup 5 ways can be a drag. But I couldn't resist it and without even being asked, our server very kindly brought us out 5 small bowls, so we could split it. Wow! Am I glad we got to try this. It was one of the very best renditions I can ever remember having. The depth of flavor was amazing. It was smokey from the ham, and the ramps were just perfect. The creamy texture was amazing, and the cornbread croutons were a great addition.Shrimp & Grits with Tasso Gravy
I loved this rendition for a number of reasons. First of all, the shrimp were tender, plump and snappy, which immediately reminded me of how they're cooked in Charleston -- properly! I also loved the rich gravy and the perfectly tender and aromatic grits. A great dish.Carolina Shrimp Burger
This was plenty tasty but it was competing with a lot other great plates. I definitely liked it but compared to a couple of other items that were in front of me, it was hard to really focus on it. Still, on the right day, I could go into Big Jones, order this and be very happy.Townhouse Barbecue Burger
I've got to give a big tip of the cap to LTHer MarlaCollins'Husband, who not only tipped us off to this outstanding burger upthread, but also recommended ordering it with the pimento cheese spread. Spec-frigging-tacular! This burger, which was cooked perfectly to medium-rare (grilled over pecan wood fire), is going to haunt my dreams for a while. And those perfectly fried slices of house-pickled okra were excellent, too.Fried Chicken
Crispy, juicy and utterly delicious. I think I enjoyed it more this time than on my previous visit.Sides |
Parmesan Biscuits, Mashed Potatoes & Gumbo Gravy, Voodoo Greens, Red Beans & Rice
I loved these last time and the same was true this time around. These greens are, without question, the best I've ever had in Chicago and they were far better than any greens I had in South Carolina.Snickerdoodles
Really excellent rendition . . . not only really delicious but crispy on the edges and tender in the center. I usually don't like these but as full as I was, I couldn't stop eating them. We also had some vanilla bean ice cream and smoked buttermilk ice cream. The former, I loved. The latter, well, let's just say I'm glad I tried it.
What a spectacular lunch. I'd been hanging out and eating with my visiting friends for 4 days and this was our final meal together. What a way to end it. You'd think that after that many days we'd all be sick of eating. Instead, the lunch at Big Jones was entirely compelling and absolutely delicious. And it was very cool to see their new GNR sticker on the front door and the GNR poster on the wall in the men's room!