Shorties, Playas – this week’s review is of Jack’s Luxury Oyster Bar on 101 2nd Avenue – abbreviated JLOB. Something about this joint makes me feel a tad gangsta, dog. Maybe it’s the awesome name. Or Maybe it is the Japanese/nautical feel. And bad-ass gangsta rap…or really, just rap… and Japanese precision/excellence are closely related. Shaolin Shadowboxing, KillBill, the RZA. In some contexts, the two notions are inseparable.
For the J-Lob experience, Elana is not with me, but I’m accompanied by my dear friends Tim and, JohnandElana minority shareholder, Steve – who has been kind enough to share his bathroom experience later on in this review.
So – JLOB is an under the radar type pad. No outdoor sign – just a protruding air conditioner that sticks out like a sore thumb. The inside is, to be generous, cozy. Tightly assembled wooden tables lined up next to each other, with not much room to spare. Your neighbor’s conversations (and your own) are easily overheard. Yet it’s a cool spot: interesting artwork, old lanterns, and a chef’s table make for a unique atmosphere. I’m digging it a lot, actually.
For dinner, I opt for a tasting menu, which appears to be a nice option: a 5 course meal plus dessert for 55 bucks. First up, West Coast Oysters with cranberry and chive. As Pauly D would opine, these oysters were fresh to death. A nice touch with the hint of cranberry as well.
Second is risotto with wild arugula, a quail egg, bacon, and pecorino cheese. A runnier than usual than risotto, which I like. The Egg adds a nice richness, and the bacon supplies punch.
Next is Arctic Char confit with fennel and orange gremolata. The fennel is provides a noticeable licorice taste to the tender and meaty Char – like a salmon of sorts. This dish is followed up by Wild striped bass with olives, pickled raisins, mushrooms, and crones. This course has it all. The Bass is buttery smooth, but there is also a salty/bitter presence by the olives, a sweetness to the raisins, and an earthy presence from the ‘shrooms. A masterpiece here, really.
Next up (as seen directly above) was the duck breast with crisp duck skin and sweet potato puree. The duck, as the pictures suggest (well done motorolla droid!), is cooked crazy nice. It’s juicy and fatty and tasty as hell. The sweet potato puree is candy-like in its feeling on the t-buds. Again, another superb job here.
And dessert is a fine job also. Salted caramel apples with vanilla bean ice cream and apple chips. Wonderful ice cream, smooth as can be. And, given the time of year, teaming this up with anything apple related just makes me happy.
As stated above, Steve was kind enough to review the bathrooms. According to him: “Like the rest of the establishment, the bathroom is tiny and quirky, yet charming and well-groomed. WARNING: whatever you do, you mustn’t make eye contact with the evil small child in the old painting facing the mirror”
Service was very good. Our waitress was particularly attentive and the courses were cleared and reset at a nice pace. There was, however, an inexplicable long wait for our dessert. A minor blemish on an otherwise very good experience.
Overall, you’re doing yourself a favor if you slip into JLOB for a few courses. The portions could be considered a tad small, but the idea is to not gorge yourself. Order a few dishes (which were all extremely well presented by the way) and enjoy the diverse and smart experience.
Overall Movie Experience – Heat