Jack’s Mainly Deliciousness: (7/12/07)

This was my week at Jack’s. Jack’s Mainly Chinese Tapas Cafe, that is. As a lover of Chinese food, I have been trying to convince my boyfriend of its worth, but given that he had only been to buffets in his native Indiana, I had been having trouble getting him into them. Now we’ve had Chinese 3 times this week, all because I stumbled upon Jack’s.

The atmosphere might not be traditional, and you have to eat in to be able to pick specials off the whiteboards, crowded with things you’ve never tried before, but the daring are rewarded, as the best dishes were blind shots in the dark. Saturday night I took a safety with veggie stir-fried hand shaven noodles. It was amazing, usually I feel that the veggies or meat get in the way of the doughy goodness of the noodles, but not here. The crunch of the veggies was perfect to offset the doughiness, and the size matched the noodles well. On the waitress’ suggestion we took a chance on yu-choy and shitake mushrooms. This was a true winner, vegetables I was less than familiar with bathed in a sauce so light in color it was not visible on the plate–a far cry from the lumpy, sweet gravy bathing all too many americanized Chinese joints. In the style I have been told is customary, we forwent the rice in favor of using the scallion sesame flatbread to mop up sauces and pick up food. I found the bread somewhat ordinary, but, like the rice, it was there to pick up the enchnating flavors of the sauces.

I reccomend this place, locate just north of 50th on the Ave to all adventurous eaters out there, and if you’d like to read some more dish reccomendations including ‘Jack’s on the beach’, keep reading.
After Saturday’s food fest, I told my friend Kate about this place. We made plans for Wednesday, to eat Chinese. Then it was going to be 98 degrees, we made plans to go to the beach. Unable to forgo her Chinese food, she asked if we could bring it with to the beach. It turned out to be a moot point because she had a massage appointment and had to cancel.

Thus after a particularly un-fun mountain bike crash on Tuesday, I suggested the best comfort food I could think of to eat while lacking skin on my right arm: Jack’s. The BF prevented me from ordering the same thing over again for the virtue of variety, so I went with a classic Chinese favorite of mine, Eggplant with Basil, and a new branch out off the board, and our first foray into meat: Marinated Tofu with chinese sausage. The traditional eggplant was very similar to what you would get in any decent Chinese place, which is why I found it funny that the BF immediately singled it out for mediocraty. The tofu and sausage was zingily spicy, with two chewy textures that combined to be a great mix. Plopped on to a piece of sesame scallion bread, this was like the world’s best Chinese pizza.

Oddly enough, this connects to the next night, when Kate got her priorities straight and canceled her massage in favor of the beach and chinese food. Our take out scallion bread came, cutely enough in a Pizza box. “Next door?” Kate asked, referring to the Pizza Ragazzi next door, with a disgusted squint in her eyes. No, no, I said as I introduced her to the new Chinese treat. Of our beach going foods, some faired better than others. The veggie shaved noodles, worked well, in their compact, easily eaten form. However, the generals tso’s her BF ordered had to be dumped on his fried rice in order to be eaten. Her Szechuan pickles were like a hint of sweet in your kim chee, and made a great snack with beer for the picnic. Our water spinach with garlic sauce was good, but like the Tso’s, was so drippy and compacted in to the container that it was unviable. Perhaps that’s an eat-in option. However, the predominant winner of what to bring on your next picnic to the beach was the Cold Noodles. Not the best noodles (the hand shaved easily are), but topped with a slightly spicy dressing, these come with jullienned cucmbers, carrots, tofu and a healthy helping of cilantro. This veggie laden dish has just become a picnic classic. In 98 degree weather, eating this refreshing dish while relaxing on the shore, life couldn’t get much better.

Jack’s on Superpages.com


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