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Pre-Show Dinner at Jeanty At Jack's

Rod Williams | Mar 13, 200512:45 AM

Had a very delightful early dinner this evening at Jeanty At Jack's. We were seated on the mezzanine overlooking the ground-floor bar, which I preferred to the little room upstairs we ate in last time. My Tanqueray-martini-up-with-an-olive was sooo delicious I had to ask the waiter which vermouth the bartender was using -- it's Noilly Prat, which I use at home, but somehow I lack the bartending skills to mix to such cocktailular perfection - not lack of practice, I assure you, but I guess I'll have to try harder. My partner had a glass of Roederer champagne.

My pieds de cochon appetizer was also perfect -- succulent porky shreds on a salad of frisee and haricots verts in a most wonderfully rich vinaigrette. T. had what was described as the chef's favorite -- the petit sale' -- thin slices of smoked pork belly with a ragout of lentils and foie gras, fergawdsakes. I tried making lentils like that at home a few weeks ago -- using an entire bottle of pinot noir and stirring the lentils endlessly as if making a risotto. It was pretty good, but not in the same league as Philippe Jeanty's version tonight. The flavor was so rich and complex, it just went on forever. This is a wonderful dish.

I had the steak frites bearnaise -- a perfectly-cooked, medium-rare, slim rib-eye steak with a snappy watercress garnish, a gravy-boat full of excellent bearnaise and a paper cone of magnificent pommes frites (I still think Cafe Bastille's may be better, but this will need further research). T, had the wonderful Coq au Vin with noodles, rich and smoky and way too much for him -- the remainder is in the fridge waiting for breakfast tomorrow :-)

We had a bottle of Les Tourelles de Longueville, Paulliac, 2001, a French cabernet that disappointed somewhat. It was rather constricted all through the meal. I was sure it would open up in the glass at any moment, but it didn't decide to do so until just about the last mouthful. Oh well...

The rice pudding with brandied cherries, and my crepe suzette were delicious. Our service was everything we could desire, though we noticed that other tables were sometimes neglected for long periods.

Switching topics to Chow For The Soul, we went to hear Paula West at the Plush Room afterwards -- she'll be there thru next Sunday 3/20, and I can't recommend her highly enough. I last heard her there three years ago, and liked her a lot, but there's simply no comparison anymore -- she's now a world-class jazz singer, with a fantastic band, the Eric Reed Trio. Run, don't walk...

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