Friday, February 22, 2013

Baltimore Life: Jack and Zack Food restaurant review

Two Hungry Girls - a blog currrently covering the food available on Charles Street between Mulberry and Lexington in downtown Baltimore. Lisa is the country mouse who works a professional job in the city. Susan is the city mouse who is an artist with a studio at home. Both are 40-something. We currently have between us 5 dogs, 8 cats and 1 turtle (he's Lisa's), two kids each (teens and twenties) and a chef husband (also Lisa's). Lisa will tell you herself that she is a picky eater who is always looking for something good she'll actually eat (stems on baby greens, yuck!). For Susan pork and alcohol are her only "don't eat" ingredients. She craves trying new food concoctions (walnuts on pizza, sure!) crossing her fingers that they will be delicious.
Lisa and I agree on our assessment of Jack and Zack's food and service but we disagree on recommending that you visit. Lisa, the straighter shooter of our partnership, says that the food was okay but had issues, there should have been more options, the server was not very attentive, and the atmosphere had a target demographic that was not us. I agree, but I'm still recommending that you go.
Photo by Richard Gorelick, click here for his review of Jack and Zack Food

Jack and Zack Food (its official name) is at 333 N Charles Street around the corner from the Women's Industrial Exchange with the entrance tucked away on Pleasant Street. It is a tiny space with only an L-shaped lunch counter available for seating. Jack and Zack's uses local, organic sources for much of its food including dairy, meat and eggs. The tone is sincere hipster.

The lunch menu is very limited. If you want meat, it's going to be sausage. If you don't want meat, it's going to be hummus or veggie patty. We've been to Jack and Zack's twice. Lisa had the sausage both times. They have different options every week and make the sausages themselves. Lisa liked one better than the other. The more recent one was a bit bland and dry (no sauce on the bun or for dipping) and kept falling out of the back of the bun. I had the vegetarian options because both of the times we went the sausages were pork. Like Lisa, I thought the food was fine. I liked my hummus sandwich better than the veggie patty. The sandwich was a good balance of textures and flavors with the toasted bread, apple, hummus and greens but I would have prefered it without the pickled (very slightly, they tasted raw) onions. That illustrates one of the restaurant's problems. The menu is on a chalkboard and not every ingredient is listed so I didn't know to ask them to leave the onions off. I get why they don't have printed menus, easier to adjust when menu items are fluid, less waste, but then then the service needs to be the type that bridges that gap.

(Please see our blog, Two Hungry Girls, Baltimore for the rest of the details of the food, atmosphere and service. The conclusion, however, is below.)
So in Lisa's opinion there’s no need to go back. The food was okay, but not memorable, and she felt uncomfortable in the atmosphere. We agreed on all the little and not so little deficits,but when I got up to leave and was putting on my coat and scarf, I felt invigorated and replenished - nourished, if you will, inside and out - and that's not something a lot of places give you for $8.50 a plate. So go; check it out. It's worth it for the experience. You won't go hungry and who knows, you may find that Jack and Zack's gives you more than a meal. And then you've found not just another place to eat, you've found a refuge.

No comments: