I have heard of Jones - it’s comfort food served with 70’s décor - but never desired to dine there. If I have a hankering for home cooked food, I’ll cook it at home. One of the reasons I go out to eat is to have food that I can’t replicate in my own kitchen.
Unwilling to wait an hour and a half at another restaurant, I found myself around the corner from Jones and now ready to give it a try. We waited about fifteen minutes for a table – not bad for a busy Friday evening at a Stephen Starr or any other popular restaurant.
While waiting I gazed around at the space – a large open floor plan with a sunken middle dining area, an overlooking upstairs dining room, a bar with a large backing image of a famous NJ shore, rough stone walls, a transparent fireplace, mod chairs and light fixtures, and shag carpet. I feel sorry for the person that has to vacuum! The décor is not your grandmothers house, but rather sophisticated and sleek with obvious allusion to the 70’s.
The drink menu has wine, beer, champagne and many froofy, sweet cocktails and martinis. I’m a froofy, sweet drinker so I order something with a ridiculous name – pink elephant revenge, maybe? It had champagne, vodka, and cranberry juice with a pink sugared rim. Perfectly unserious for my evening at hand.
The menu was comfy and familiar with Thanksgiving dinner, grilled cheese and tomato soup, macaroni and cheese, meatloaf, and fried chicken with waffles, and other food typically served by moms. They also have fancier dishes that mom may have never served or only served on Sundays such as pistachio crusted tilapia, beef brisket, and fillet mignon.
For the vegetarian, they offer vegetarian Shepard’s pie, veggie burger, ALT sandwich – avocado, lettuce and tomato, and a portabello sandwich. A few of the salads and appetizers are vegetarian, as well as all of the sides. They had a surprisingly large vegetarian menu for an upscale and mainstream restaurant.
To start, I ordered mac and cheese. I had heard good things about the mac and cheese, but found it bland and creamy in a Velveeta sort of way. I’m sure many moms made Velveeta, so maybe they’re right on the mark. This wasn’t my mom or my mark.
I loooove deviled eggs and give them props for putting this maligned appetizer on the menu. I was hesitant to order due to my quirky fear of eggs that have not been prepared im-me-di-ate-ly before consumption. Still, I had to try them.
Four egg halves came out with beautifully piped filling sprinkled with the traditional paprika. The filling was perfectly creamy and tangy. They nailed the filling. Unfortunately, the egg whites were overcooked making them a little rubbery. Perhaps they’re not always so and the cooks just left them in the hot water too long that night.
I opted for the veggie hamburger with cheese in hopes of a nice bun – seeded, thick buns can elevate a mundane burger. The burger came out with a very nice bun, but what I liked most about the burger was that they caramelized the onions. You would not believe how rare it is to get a burger or sandwich served with caramelized onions. They always come out with large, honking slices of raw onions that are much too pungent to consume. It really is one of my bigger food pet peeves. The burger at Jones was one of the best veggie burger’s I’ve had out. Kudos.
I had to pass on dessert, due to a full belly – I ended up taking half of my sandwich home with me. Again they played up the comfort food theme by offering desserts like Duncan Hines chocolate cake with a glass of milk and apple pie. The Jones-wich – peanut butter ice cream sandwiched between two chocolate chip cookies – looked like fun in the summer time. The butterscotch and banana cake with caramel sauce looked like a family reunion star.
The service was excellent. We were seated in a timely manner and our server was there at all the right moments. My only complaint would be the noise level. I had to shout to talk to my companion, but that’s generally the case at packed restaurants on the weekend.
I think the comfort food gimmick is great for those with an occasional hankering or for those who don’t like to step out of their familiar box yet want the procession of fine dining.
I’m sorry I dismissed Jones. I hear they have a good brunch. Maybe I’ll give it a try.
Jones, 700 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, (215-223-5663)
Sat. 10:30AM-3PM, 5PM-1AM
Sun. 10:30AM-3PM, 4-11PM
Bar until 2AM Mon.-Sat., 1AM Sun.
No Reservations accepted