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Pennsylvania

Jack's Firehouse Cafe

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Jack's Firehouse Cafe

Gary Borger | Jun 25, 2002 06:46 AM

While my wife and I have had numerous great dining experiences (i.e., fun and enjoyable meals) at Jack's, our latest visit on Saturday, June 22, 2002, was very disappointing.

First, we started with a glass of a wonderful red California zinfandel for $7 per glass. (Jack has a nice wine and beer selection, although more beers on tap would be nice.) Unfortunately, referring to what we were served as "a glass of wine" is a misnomer. The wine was served in a universal wine glass (that could be used for red, white, whatever) and was only 1/4 full (or rather 3/4 empty). When my wife asked the server about the paucity of wine in the glass, her reply was, "This is the proper way to serve wine. The quantity is the same as we always serve; it's just that these are our new glasses. We leave room for the wine to be swirled in the glass for you to be able to enjoy the bouquet. That's the proper way to serve wine" Well, maybe, if it was a burgundy glass, but it ended up being the same glass in which they served water, mixed drinks like margarita's, etc. to everyone in the place. (Recently we visited Sopra's in Delray Beach, FL where, for the same price, we were served our "glass of wine" in a mini-carafe and a burgundy glass that we refilled two or three times from the mini-carafe, to one-third of the glass each time, swirling to our hearts delite but not getting cheated by the quantity served.) We felt cheated at Jack's and declined a second glass when asked if the same quantity would be served as was the case with the first glass.

My appetizer (calamari with basil and tomatoes) was so bland as to be almost tasteless. When I got to the broth at the bottom and soaked it up with the wonderful bread that came with it, I enjoyed the taste but somehow it didn't make it to the calamari.

The vegetble risotto was the most bland, tasteless risotto I've had with no vegetables to be seen other than the standard onion ingredient. The waitress said, "I put some asparagus on top for you." I thought, "If she hadn't, would this have been what Jack intended as vegetable risotto?" The dozen or so tender asparagus spears were fine but that WAS the vegetable; there was no vegetable in the risotto itself. Hmmm? Still can't figure that one out.

My wife had a nice salad and the pulled pork appetizer as an entree. (She's a controlled eater unlike her gourmand husband who scarfs up everything within reach!) Jack makes a great pulled pork but it was highly salted.

We won't give up on Jack's. Everyone can have a bad day (or night). I am sure Jack wasn't there this past weekend. I am considering writing him so he is aware of our experience. Hopefully, it was just that, a bad night at Jack's. If we can have bad hair days once in a while (at least those of you who still have a fair quantity left), I suppose a restaurant or chef can have a bad day. How about the rest of you? How has Jack's been for you lately?

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