Sunday, February 2, 2014

Jake's American Grille Food Review

Three Eggs Your Way

It's been almost four years since my first and only visit to Jake's American Grille. Blessed with an ideal location on Connecticut Avenue, midway between Chevy Chase Circle and Van Ness-UDC Metro, Jake's should be better: Yesterday's visit showed little improvement from my prior trip (minus the sound of broken plates.) It's still noisy (can you say day care?) and the food is still so-so at best (assuming they have what you want, to begin with.)

I wasn't expecting much, to be honest. I had 30 minutes to kill between an AM movie screening and a basketball doubleheader at nearby UDC, and wanted something to eat. It was a perfect time for Brunch... and Jake's has several tasty-sounding options. I walked in, and was greeted with a smile by the hostess. Unfortunately, I had to wait for a traffic jam of inconsiderate parents and their tiny children to clear, before addressing her. Turns out there was a birthday party in the front of house. The hostess asked if I wanted to sit at the bar (no thanks) so she led me to a table in the back. If I had to grade Jake's by their hostess alone, this review would be a lot better.

Unfortunately, the hostess left me... mere inches from a table of 30-somethings with a new baby in the fold. What is it about having a kid, that instantly turns you into a boring person? I wouldn't know (thankfully) but this table could have put a room full of insomniacs to sleep. You'll be glad to know that Bed Bath & Beyond is on one couple's calendar (hopefully, if they're lucky.) I mention this, because Jake's appears to be a magnet for families. Singles beware (or head downstairs to the Boiler Room, and hope the kids don't find you.)

My server arrived, and took an order for brunch. I asked for the Biscuits 'n Jam starter ($8) with seasonal jam (the server had no idea what jam it was) and Three Eggs My Way ($11.) Three eggs (scrambled) with home fries and your choice of apple wood smoked bacon or turkey sausage. I chose turkey sausage (they were out) so I asked for either pork sausage or bacon instead (I said it didn't matter.) A few minutes later, the server came back to tell me they had pork sausage, but no Biscuits 'n Jam. Seriously, how do you run out of both biscuits and turkey sausage before 12:30 on a Saturday? Disappointed, I asked, "Does it (Three Eggs My Way) come with bread or something?" My server nodded in the affirmative. Turns out it costs three bucks more (tiny details, no?)

Brunch arrived quickly (I told my server I was in a bit of a hurry.) Eggs were cooked to sh** yet cold. Ditto for the potatoes and sausage. The toast was excellent, but for $3 it should be. The aforementioned sausage links were actually tasty, which only highlighted the fact that they were cold. I'm guessing they don't cook to order here: Don't you hate stacked food, that just sits there? Home fries were plentiful and even had a few red pepper strips tossed in for color & flavor... but cold as well. At least the table with the baby cleared out, so I could eat in relative peace. P.S. What kind of chef overcooks eggs?

Looks-wise, Jake's is plenty nice. They have high booths which cut off half of the five TVs that line the bar area. 60's Music (Supremes, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles) plays at a nice volume; but is hard to hear, "thanks" to the surrounding noises (mostly kids.) I tried to Shazam, but it failed multiple times (too much background noise.) Tables are clean; and the seats were both comfortable, and easy to get in & out of. My server was polite; but in the long run, $20 (including tip) for a cold breakfast and a glass of water is hard to stomach.

One final poke... Upon leaving, I had to stop in the aisle, as a grandmother and toddler practiced their walking... followed by another kid on a toy cycle and a pushy Mom ordering an employee to start bringing out dessert. Sugar. Just what these kids need. More than 90 seconds elapsed before I was able to squeeze by. Don't count on me squeezing back in again.