Monday, December 10, 2012


On a side street in Bucktown, near the Clybourn Metra Station is a little blue brick building that looks like a house.  This little blue brick house is actually Jane's Restaurant which I visited for dinner recently.  While the exterior of the restaurant looks like a house, the interior has an open floorplan. and a high cathedral ceiling.  The walls at the front of the dining room are antique brick and there are many paintings from local artists on the wall that are for sale.  There is a long bar that starts at about the middle of the dining room and extends to the rear.  The front of the bar is for drinking and eating and the back serves as the serving table for the kitchen behind the bar.  The entire restaurant has a decidedly retro feel.  The furniture uses a lot of curls in the design and the typeset of the menu shows a similar design.  I sat at the end of the bar and was able to watch the action in the kitchen (as well as the rear half of the dining room).  The menu focuses on American classics as well as some Latin inspired fare.  For my first dish, I decided to try their spin on a quesadilla.  Jane's Quesadilla uses a combination of Gouda and Blue Cheese and is served with Spiced Apples on the side and a garnish of fresh dill.  I will admit normally that quesadillas really do nothing for me because there is really nothing to them.  While I do like both cheese and tortillas, a tortilla by itself will be pretty bland as is the white Oaxaca cheese that is used with it.  There also isn't much textural variety.  In this case, Gouda and Blue cheese both have pronounced flavors which add tartness from the gouda and bittersweet from the blue cheese.  The apples that were served on the side were cooked but still crisp and had a nice sweetness that cooked apples will have but were also decidedly spicy from the added cinnamon and other spices.  I wouldn't have thought that dill would complement the flavors but it really did.  The flavors from the modified ingredients really added to what is normally a pretty boring dish.

For my entree, I went with Seared Sea Scallops with Carrot, Celery, Coconut Milk, and Peanuts.  The scallops were prepared perfectly.  They had a nice sear on them and were very tender with the slightest amount of chew.  The risotto had the right texture and the carrots and celery were cooked well and complemented the curry flavor.  While the risotto did have a good texture, it did taste as if they took a shortcut with the risotto and cooked the rice before adding it to the curry and coconut milk.  The rice didn't taste as if the curry had infused it.  While the individual parts of this dish were good, it just didn't quite come together.

With one hit and one miss, it was up to the dessert to see how the meal would go.  I ordered the Warm Turtle Brownie with Bourbon Pecan Gelato, Candied Pecans, and Housemade Caramel.  On paper this dessert sounded amazing.  In real life, it paid off.  This was the best dish I had .  Chocolate, pecans, and caramel complement each other well and each of the individual pieces was made well.  The brownie was warm and dense, the pecans were salted, and had a nice candy coating, the gelato was nutty, buttery, and the bourbon added a nice smoky flavor and the caramel added a great gooeyness to everything.

Jane's was a nice neighborhood restaurant and overall, I did enjoy my meal here.  It had a nice welcoming and homey vibe to it and while the food isn't exceptional, it is good.  


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