by Julian, New York Guest Concierge
I waited in the chilly sunlight a few weeks ago for my fellow concierge to meet me at Jack’s Restaurant and Bar in Times Square. The red sign was the key to finding this great little American place. The restaurant opened at 11:30 and we had a reservation for that exact time. I was the first person to walk in and was asked if I had a reservation. In this industry I should know better than to think, “Why would I need a reservation!? There is no one in here.” Yes, even we concierges succumb to that thinking at the sight of an empty restaurant.
I had no real expectations and was pleasantly surprised to be in such a comfortable and casual environment with that great old-time New York restaurant feeling. A nice sized bar on the left upon entering and a dining room in the back with white cloths on the tables. The hall to the bathroom is lined with old theatre posters and you can easily imagine all the casts of the shows walking through that same hallway.
I like that sort of well-worn comfortable feeling and Jack’s has it in abundance. Our waiter knew everything on the menu and took delight in leading us through the options and making recommendations, of which we took all of them. The Blue Cornmeal fried Calamari were perfection but I think my favorite item was the Avocado and Ceviche appetizer. The fish was tender and well seasoned. The appetizer didn’t manage to stay on our table for more than 10 minutes. We should have ordered two of those! It came with the most savory plantain chips which were a perfect compliment to the texture of the avocado. Angie had the Thai Chicken wings and if I could have put the sauce on everything I ate I would have. All the sauces were excellent and I thought about how easy it would be to recommend this restaurant to a guest. The menu has two sections. The first is a tapas style menu where we ordered most of our items from because we wanted a light lunch. If, however, you wanted a sandwich, a burger or a salad they had that as well. They even had vegetarian entree options. Their slogan says it all. “Global food, Local address.”
It was an eclectic mix but it worked because everything was delicious. Our service was prompt. Nothing was lost in the transaction and again I thought about what a great job Jack’s did of offering something to everyone from business men to families.
Angie and I were seated in a booth far away from the chill outside and it turns out we were lucky we did have that reservation; by the end of our meal the place was packed and people that were waiting for tables at the bar started eyeing Angie and me in our comfortable little corner of the world. The crowd and the staff seemed to all be regulars. Don’t fix it if it ain’t broken, right?
If you want great food and service in a casual but charming environment than Jack’s is a must. There was nothing pretentious about it and if it weren’t for the fact that we had to get back to work Angie and I would have happily stayed for dessert. Lucky for those bar patrons we didn’t have the time that day.
I finished my coffee and she finished her Pinot Grigio and we reluctantly gave up our table. The manager introduced himself and thanked us on our way out. Friendliness always makes me want to go back to a restaurant, not to mention I didn’t get to the dessert. So, hopefully, I will see you there!