Ok, that does it. I have eaten Jamie Kennedy's food in various places several times. Each time, I have been underwhelmed. So I was extremely curious and really wanted to give it one last shot. I hadn't eaten at JK Wine Bar per se, so decided to go there on the other evening with a few friends.
First of all, yes, it's an attractive space. The service is attentive and we were seated quickly. We wanted a table and got it (we were there early). I will admit that, as a group, we were perhaps a bit uncooperative in the sense that we didn't sit, awed and quiet and, instead, ordered our own series of wines and dishes. The wines were all outstanding - so no complaints there. And as far as the food goes it, too, was mostly delicious. But at least a couple of us are pretty competent cooks and we both felt that there was absolutely nothing there that we couldn't have easily done ourselves. Kennedy is a brilliant sourcer of ingredients - agreed. And this is, perhaps, his strength. But what he does with these ingredients is dead simple and not particularly exciting. The black cod with braised pork belly was good, but didn't blow me away like I had hoped. The beef with wild pine mushrooms was nicely prepared, a good use of the ingredients, but not at all exciting. The charcuterie plate was fine, the beef and cheddar sandwich was good (but again, this was about the cheese!) and the fries were, of course, addictive. (I have had better grilled Portuguesd sardines at almost any churrascuiera, though.) Desserts were ok - I liked the creme brulee and the cheese platter was nice.
I'm not complaining about this really, but I have finally come to the conclusion that the strength of Jamie Kennedy's cooking is in the ingredients. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate this, but for anyone who does have access to fresh, seasonal ingredients and is willing to search for interesting cheeses and good produce, it is not a mind-blowing culinary experience. Would I go there again? Probably not, to be honest. It was expensive for what we ate, and I was (personally) a little irritated by our server who made us feel like slightly misbehaved children for confusing our wine glasses. I don't need that kind of pressure when I go out to eat.
Anyway, that's it. I have done it and now I know. I can make creme brulee just as good as his and I know where the pine mushrooms grow.