I love a good multi-course meal as much as anyone, but I also want to feel like some effort is put into it, especially if we’re doing something called Chef’s Mercy. For Cami’s birthday, we joined her at JSix for a fancy dinner. Five courses, $59 – not bad, really, compared to some other fine dining options in town. Plus, I’d heard good things about Chef Graves’ dishes and the Chef’s Mercy dinner.
We started with an asparagus salad with tasty morsels of bacon-y crunch on the plate. The asparagus was cooked perfectly and the bacon was, well, how do you go wrong with bacon? We weren’t served the poached egg that usually comes with it (we had some limitations to what we could eat that night) but we were off to a good start.
Next up was wild mushroom ravioli with fresh spring peas and their leaves. Tastiest peas I’ve ever eaten, and that may include ones I’ve picked from our garden. When we got to the ravioli, we found it to be a bit… crunchy. We asked if it was supposed to be that way and were told that the chef serves the ravioli extremely al dente, as a way to be different. Look, I know al dente pasta, and it doesn’t go “crunch”. I know the difference between cooked and not cooked pasta. Let’s just say, this was not al dente. Wonderful flavors, but points off for serving undercooked pasta and trying to pass it off as being fanciful and different.
There’s some chatter that braised short ribs are becoming an old trend – everyone’s doing them, they’re not that special, blah blah blah. Whatever. I love braised short ribs, when they’re done well. There’s a reason we ate them at our rehearsal dinner AND at our wedding. They’re good! Meltingly soft beef covered in a luscious sauce? Bring it on! JSix’s short ribs were outstanding, if not oddly paired with a corn and lobster salad on the side. Where are the potatoes? Creamy element? Hot short ribs and cold salad? Kind of weird. Delicious, but not well balanced.
We then moved on to a bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin, sitting on top of some of the tastiest polenta I’ve had in a long time. Maybe the pork stole the polenta from the short ribs? The pork tenderloin was juicy and tender, and the bacon surrounding it was crisp and not chewy-springy. Very nicely done. Probably would have been appreciated more if I hadn’t been burstingly full. Luckily, I have an extra dessert-stomach.
… for creme brulee. Really? I think we were all a little bit disappointed in this course. I mean, yes, it was good creme brulee, but isn’t that kind of the cheater way out? Out of all the fancy desserts on the menu, we were served this?
All in all, I felt we were served very safe, very boring dishes (except for that radical crunchy ravioli!) Granted, we told them we had a pregnant lady among us, so maybe they didn’t want to get too crazy? Then again, why serve an egg-based custard for dessert? We saw completely different dishes going to a couple a few tables over, but I didn’t see what they got for dessert. I’d love to go back and see if we get a more adventurous taste of their menu, but I’m also hesitant to spend another $120 if we’re only going to get standard dishes again. I mean, for $60, the two of us can eat really well at Wine Vault & Bistro!
It was fun to do, and always fun to celebrate a birthday with my best friend, and it’s not like the food was of poor quality (except for that ridiculous “al dente” ravioli). I’d say JSix provides a pretty good dining option for those looking to eat downtown.