Dinner at Chez Jacky's

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Chez Jacky's
1414 Commonwealth AvenueBrighton, MA 02135
617 274 8687

Service (4.2/5.0)-Our friend M knows the owner of Chez Jacky's pretty well + since we were celebrating a birthday, desserts were gratis!
Food (3.8/5.0)-Based largely on my dinner entree and a little of what I sampled.

Chez Jacky's, a sibling restaurant of Petit Robert, my go-to for affordable French eats, recently opened its doors to the Allston neighborhood. Like the various Petit Robert's, their famed crusty breads are imported from Montreal partially-baked and then toasted to sublime perfection. However at Chez Jacky's, the bread was sliced prior to serving, causing it to lose precious steamy heat. I say just serve them whole and I'll do the tearing myself! 

At prices well below $15 per entree, the food was undeniably of good value. The trio de pates was my favorite appetizer, followed by the Saucisson plate. Despite the novelty of being house-cured, the smoked salmon was average. I was rather disappointed with my course of roasted pork with lentil and bacon stew because it sounded delicious (keywords: roast pork, bacon?) but came out overcooked. Would I come back though? Yes I would. 

Trio de Pâtés. Campagne, Rillette, Liver Mousse- My favorite, the light texture of mousse offsets the fatty richness of liver. Rillette and Campagne was firm and well-salted. Yummy.

Smoked Salmon Maison with Pain Grillé-So so.

Plate of 2 Saucissons and Cured Bayonne Ham-It was good but still go for the pate plate. 

Ratatouille Gratin- tasted ok and a tad too greasy

Duck Confit Potée. Braised Cabbage, Grilled Sausage-good.

Veal, Chicken and Champignons, Vol au Vent Pastry-Didn't have this. No veal.

Roast Pork with Lentil and Bacon Stew-Sigh. I usually have knack at picking out the yummiest entrees on a menu but clearly I have some off days too. As mentioned, pork was overcooked; lentil stew was meh, couldn't taste the notes of bacon either. 

2 Grilled Toulouse Sausages with Caramelized Onions-This was pretty good actually. After biting through the crispy skin, I was greeted with a burst of jus and then tender, bouncy chunks of flavorful meat. Sigh.. Crap, I hope it doesn't contain boeuf!

20 Mussels Poulette with Wine, Cream and Shallots-Does it look like 20 mussels? I have no idea, but the cream sauce was a good accompaniment. 

Giant Ile Flottante Meringue with Vanilla Ice Cream-
I've noticed, that in recent years, the desserts at Petit Robert have been slipping in terms of presentation 
(and Chez Jacky's too) . In the past, I used to get a luscious Ile Flottante served in a nice, chilled martini glass and caramel sauce artfully swirled on top of my crafted meringue at their dessert bar. Nowadays, it's misshapen pats of egg white dumped on top of creme anglaise (thankfully, this still tastes ok).
[Another catty note: I tend to get very annoyed when people start explaining what Ile Flottante means every time I order it, compounded by a good memory and the n times I've eaten this in the past n years.]

Rice au Lait Brûlé de Maman Robert-This rice pudding was my favorite dessert because despite appearances, it was light, fluffy, creamy and very palatable. Wished the presentation did the taste justice.

Poire Belle-Elène with Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce- It tasted too sweet, without depth and looked sloppy ... I felt that my amateurish efforts might win this one...

I've made a more exciting version of a pear dessert some years ago, and will elaborate further with help from Laura Calder's very no-brainer recipe for red wine and honey poached pears and topped it off with a spun sugar crown, garnished with mint and lemon zest (for acidity and burst of color). If I can find my pic, I'll post it.


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