Jefferson has reopened. It feels quite different. The menu is limited, featuring tapas-sized portions and skewers. The food was for the most part quite good. I had a corn and calamari salad with suprising spices (very tasty) and kind of curried quail that was delicious, and unlike any quail dish I'd ever had before. The desserts were more familiar from previous visits -- good ice cream sandwich and lemon parfait. We also had a bean salad that was uninspired. The cost was pretty economical, and our check came to about half the price of what we averaged before the hiatus.
Alas, the service. Clearly all the old employees found new jobs, and the place seems to be relying on rank amateurs. The mistakes were comical -- busboys who didn't know what table was which, dishes being served and then having to wait several minutes for the silverware to eat it. Drinks forgotten or spilled. Some plates cleared long before we were close to finished with them, others remained inert on the table throughout dessert.
The combined effect of the limited menu and the service is that Jefferson feels much less elegant than it once did. It's as if 11 Madison closed and Shake Shack moved inside, and the employees couldn't handle all the extra room. Of course I understand the reasons for this (the owner has been very ill), but I do hope Jefferson can, over time, restore some of its former ambience.
I used to love this place, and I'll be willing to go back. But I suspect it is going to take a little time to work out the kinks. Mostly I'm happy it still exists.