Saturday, March 24, 2012

Jake's City Grille (Woodbury)

Jake's is a local chain restaurant, with 5 locations.  Since it was the closest, we visited Maplewood.  At 8 on a Friday, the place was busy, but not packed.  There was no waiting for our party of two, but as we walked to our table, I noticed that a larger party probably would have waited.  The patio was open, but eating in the dark isn't really my thing.

Service was fairly speedy.  We decided to skip the appetizers, although if we had been earlier, we might have gone for the Beer Battered Mushrooms.  Maybe next time.  The wife started with a cup of clam chowder.  She found plenty of clams, not a lot of potatoes, and said that it was smooth and creamy, and still nice and hot.  I picked a mixed green salad.  The greens were definitely mixed - i recognized romaine, arugula, frisee.  The small plum tomatoes were firm, not squishy, only a couple of slivers of onion - just for flavor, not to overpower the taste of everything else.

For an entree, she had the Prime Rib Dip, which came with fries.  She had them throw some provolone on it, which I'm not sure I would have done to Prime Rib, but it was her sandwich :)  I did have a taste.  The meat wasn't rare, as Prime Rib should be, it was well done.  By itself, there wasn't much flavor, although when dipped in the au jus, the dip added a lot of flavor.  The bread was a bit too toasty, and without the dip was hard to bite.  The fries were seasoned with an in-house seasoning, and were crispy - always a good thing.

My entree was the Cedar Plank Salmon.  Spiced and glazed then oven roasted.  The problem was...the spice and glaze overpowered any taste of the salmon.  In fact, after the first couple of bites, even the garlic mashed potatoes and the roasted vegetables all tasted the same as the salmon glaze.  The texture of the salmon was nice - didn't stick to the plank, flaky, and cooked well, I just couldn't taste it.  If their glaze is the same on their other items (like the pork chops or the ribeye), I'd recommend skipping those, since the flavor is so overwhelming.

Atmosphere wise, this location was welcoming.  Lighting was decent, the televisions in the bar section weren't blaring, the ambient noise level from the other patrons was not deafening.  The sound balance was such that we could hear each other, but not the people on either side of us.  We could hear the party at the table in the aisle, but that might have been because we kept watching their baby, and thus paid more attention to the group. 

Prices were a little on the high side, but that really seems to be the trend for 'grilles' or 'pubs', or maybe I'm just stingy at heart.  I would probably go here again, but as a treat or special occasion, and not as a regular customer.