Saturday, January 12, 2013

With Gratitude to Richard Foss, Easy Reader Restaurant Reviewer

Foss has one of the most discerning palates in all the South Bay and I'm not excluding chefs either.  Every Thursday, the paper arrives and I start reading from the back for his rev iew unless he has had the cover slot. 

In a recent feature, he listed (among others) Jackson's Food + Drink and gave it a very good review.  I Googled, found an intriguing menu and decided that's where we would take Richie's brother Charlie and his wife Rosalind after they landed at LAX from JFK.

Jackson's exterior looks like someone's giant hand plopped a rustic barn down in the nest of office buildings on Rosecrans in El Segundo.  it is an unexpected sight.

One of the attractions on a cold, windy Thursday was the fireplace in the dining room which you can admire from outdoors through a heat-treated glass back.  We ate in the bar which was blessedly nearly empty.  I worried that the hard interior surfaces would be a problem, but apparently it's old, soft wood!

Charlie and Rosalind ordered the soup and half-sandwich special ($12.)  Rosalind's soup was butternut squash with Fiji apples and sharp Tillamook cheese.  Charlie got the minestrone with Genoese pesto.  Their sandwiches were the short rib with roasted pearl onions, horseradish cream and Port wine au jus.  They both kept saying, "This is delicious!" as eager spoons dipped back into their soups.  Their sandwiches seemed to go down just as easily. 

Richie ordered the grilled panini with salami, prosciutto, mortadella, sweet and hot peppers and Gruyere.  Sandwiches come with a choice of Jackson's fries or a "small salad" which wasn't.  He said the flavors were excellent but he'd never eaten a sandwich that thin with that much "stuff" in it. 

Still searching for the perfect Caesar, I ordered theirs billed as "Escarole Caesar" ($10.)  It was a generous serving, it was very good, but ... it wasn't "perfect" which, now that I think of it, seems to be a mission impossible.   

My main was a Jackson's mac and cheese parmesan and tallegio ($7.)  It was the first time I've ever ordered something I consider as mundane as mac and cheese but it was awesome!  Lovely au gratin top, served in a blazing hot, small iron skillet.  I was the only one that wanted dessert.  I couldn't resist the green apple caramel fondue with fresh almond toffee nuts (crushed) for $7.  Most usually, apple desserts feature cooked apples but this was a lovely presentation on a long, rectangular dish of:  a small pot of caramel, a row of fresh green apple slices, their tops dusted with piles of the crushed almond toffee nuts.  Using fresh apples was novel, but it was a very good idea.  Cooked apple slices generally get mushy.  Using fresh really gave the dish  punch.

Next time we go to Jackson's I want to try the grilled asparagus, poached egg, oyster mushrooms with lemon beure blanc or the seared pork belly with parmesan polenta and a dried cherry brandy sauce.

Jackson's Food + Drink, 2041 Rosecrans Avenue, #190, El Segundo, CA

No comments: