My sister and I had late night dinner at JKWB.
Having arrived at 10:00ish, we were seated within about ten minutes at the bar (our choice, as we were also offered a table).
Service was slow to start and proved a little off all evening. Our server was slightly surly and eventually "forgot" one of our dishes. We got the impression he'd had a long night.
The food -
We started with two glasses of bubbles (from a choice of two by-the-glass offerings), a very fruity almost red/pink French sparkler and a light, dry cava. Both satisfying and very different from one another.
The asparagus salad, served with hearts of cat tails, and mushrooms with a light vinaigrette and garnished with pea shoots was fresh and spring-y. The asparagus was perfectly cooked and the presentation was appetizing and pretty. We paired this with the recommended wine, a very, very dry white (can't remember particulars) that we found rather flat and uninspired. We both agreed that we'd cook with it, but didn't love drinking it.
The beer battered trout was fantastique! A very dark breading did not overpower the fish, which also came with a nice slaw of carrot and beets. Probably the winner of the night.
The entrecote of beef with polenta was very rare - to the point where my sister got a little squidgy. Still, I like my meat very bloody and it had nice flavour. Others have complained about over-salting at JK, which I had never experienced before... but our polenta felt like we were actually eating salt and it was a bit unpleasant. Polenta is one of our favourite comfort foods, but neither of us cared to finish the dish. The wine paired with this dish was great - an Italian red, if I recall (sorry about falling down on wine specifics).
We tried two desserts - the chocolate apricot cake with fresh whipped cream and a cherry sauce was very good. The cake was dense but still managed to feel light and the fruity sauce really made the dish.
The rhubarb tart fared less well. It was somewhat bland and completely overpowered by a buttermilk ice cream which was so tart that I could have sworn it was lemon. We had the paired dessert wines with each dish and both were OK.
At the end of the night... $110 with tax but before tip.
I'm a big fan of JKWB, but somehowthe experience last night seemed less than usual. We had some great moments in eating and drinking (the fish, the red wine)... but it didn't quite feel right. Many of the menu items are starting to feel same-old, service seemed tired and beaten-down, and things like no bread to start are starting to feel a bit parsimonious and no-frills. It doesn't have the same energy as I remember... something just felt a little flat.
I'll still recommend, but I think this place might need a bit of enlivening.
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