The true joy in being a foodie (at least for me) is finding that diamond in the rough. That small storefront that no one has ever mentioned that serves food from the heart; food so good, it brings tears to your eyes. I'm glad to say I found such a place.
Jameson's Ultimate Southern Cooking has been around for sometime. Starting out in 1990 they first opened a take-out fried chicken and ribs joint in Long Branch then moving to its present location in Neptune in 1998. This is a very modest storefront with maybe 5-6 tables not setting more than 20 people along with a counter running the length of the room. While it may lack in the decor department, the restaurant makes up for in hospitality and food. The owner Bob Jameson is very personable and engaging. Even though we were there during the Sunday afternoon rush, he took the time to make sure we were enjoying our meals and even struck up a nice conversation about children.
As is becoming a bit of tradition with my two young boys, I took them along for lunch on this cold Sunday afternoon. Both are fond of trying new places and trying new food. For my youngest I ordered the chicken finger dinner with sides of macaroni and cheese and potato salad while I and the oldest had the fried chicken/ribs combination platter (mine with collards and black-eyed peas while my sons with macaroni and cheese and potato salad). Obviously not believing this would be enough food I also ordered a side of French fries (in case either of my kids didn't like there sides). After about 15 -20 mins. (an eternity for my kids but they did well), what looked like boat loads of food came out. Clearly we over ordered but everything was fabulous. The fried chicken was excellent and probably the single best piece I've ever eaten. Each was greaseless with a perfect crunchy coating and a tender moist interior. Just great. The ribs were the perfect counterpoint. Falling off the bone tender with a sweet barbecue sauce. The sides were also very good. The collards had a nice consistency (soft but not too soft) with a slight smokiness to them (some on the table hot sauce kicked them up a notch) while the peas were solid. As for the macaroni and cheese and potato salad while both were good, the potato salad was on the sweet side and not to my liking. Although full, for the sake of completeness I decide to push on and try a couple of the desserts - banana pudding and the peach cobbler. Both were exemplary. The pudding came as chock full of the required vanilla wafers and tasted more like a creamy banana cream pie. The cobbler was also very good notwithstanding the fact that they had to use canned peaches due to the season.
All in all an excellent meal and a tremendous find. The total cost for all the above including two bottles of soda was $42 excluding gratuity. Run don't walk to Jameson's. My highest recommendation.
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