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Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012

Jackson Grill's Menu Stands Tall

Quality shows in preparation of steaks

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This is one of those “best-kept-secret” places you are glad to find. Located in a quiet residential neighborhood, Jackson Grill is a small place featuring a handful of tables in the dining room and near the bar. The setting is pleasantly retro. Jackson Grill, which has been open for about a decade, offers food that is reminiscent of a classic supper club. In more recent years, the place has also focused on steaks, including certified Angus and American Kobe.

Jackson Grill offers two menus, one of which lists the daily specials. The specials are numerous for such a small place.

The other menu highlights steaks, ribs, chops, seafood, pastas and risotto. Vegetarians have limited options.

Among the appetizers are a Cajun barbecue shrimp cocktail ($16)—a substantial serving of spicy shrimp with three different dipping sauces—and escargot ($12) heated in garlic butter. The serving dish is topped with a whole portabella mushroom cap—an update for this classic appetizer. Enjoy the tasty snails with slices of sourdough bread.

Entrees include a small starter of marinated olives and choice of soup or salad. Crab bisque has an intense seafood flavor as well as visible pieces of crab meat. The salad is a simple affair, with leaf lettuces and a bit of radicchio and red onion. The French cognac dressing is a very sound choice.

Entrees include a side dish as well. The garlic mashed potatoes are the perfect side for red meat.

Choosing a steak requires a bit of contemplation. Those on a tighter budget should be happy with the Jackson Grill saloon steak ($28), a 16-ounce piece of tender flat-iron steak. At the other extreme is the American Kobe filet mignon ($58). In the mid-range is a 24-ounce ribeye steak ($46) that arrives with a portabella mushroom on top and Gorgonzola butter on the side.

The preparation of the steaks is key here. At most, a good piece of steak should be ordered “medium-rare,” arriving with a charred, nearly black surface and an interior that is pink and nearly rare. This is what Parisians consider “well done,” and it's a splendid way to cook a steak. The steak is nearly boneless, with just a small piece in the center.

The seafood dishes are the ones most likely to change on a daily basis. Hope to find the seared sea scallops ($32), four very large scallops served over a risotto with shavings of Parmesan and fresh corn kernels. A side of sautéed zucchini shows that vegetables are treated with the same respect as the meats here.

The Jackson Grill is proof that size is not everything. The interior may not be large, but the menu stands tall. Chef/owner Jimmy Jackson has been in the restaurant business for many years. His experience shows in the quality.

Jackson Grill

3736 W. Mitchell St.

(414) 384-7384

$$$-$$$$

thejacksongrill.com