Date of Last Visit: Sunday, 20 March 2011
The Damage: $23 for me for brunch and one mimosa.
The Background: A week or two ago, I got this tweet from @torease, inviting me to Sunday brunch up in Andersonville. I know we had exchanged a few tweets back and forth about food and the like since I had moved back to Chicago, but really, she was a stranger to me. So too was everyone on the To: list.
But you know…sometimes you just have to go out to brunch with nine strangers you met on the Internet. And brunch at Big Jones seemed like as good a reason as any.
I knew immediately I was in the right place with the right people when, once, seated, @MKinChiTown extended a finger in my direct and announced to our server, “I’ll have a mimosa. And so will she!” The mimosa was an excellent example thereof. Very tart orange juice, and not overly dry champers.
Big Jones serves up complimentary beignets before your food arrives. These were lovely, served piping hot from the oven and doused in a very liberal amount of powdered sugar. One was enough for me as they were tooth-achingly sweet.
They do sweet tea at Big Jones in a way I’ve never seen before. You get your tea (that’s the tea there on the bottom), and then you get your choice of syrups to sweeten your tea (that’s the syrup there on the top). And the tea is unlimited, which seemed like quite the happy thing.
But…I should have ordered something with bacon. My corn cakes with cheddar cheese, vegetarian red beans, two poached eggs, and green tomato chile sauce were oddly devoid of much flavor. The tomato chile sauce was barely noticeable; so too the cheddar. Thank goodness for hot sauce. And salt. Also, the dish was served on the tepid side of warm. (The beans were particularly chilly, permeating their chill upwards through the dish.) Sad really because on paper, it all sounded so good.
Throughout it all, our server was absolutely fantastic. He ASKED US if we wanted separate checks, and then proceeded to deliver 9 separate bills. (Two people shared one tab, but the rest of us went solo.) Although something like this is not abnormal in the UK, in the US, restaurants just aren’t into the separate check thing. To have a server proactively suggest this is just well…darned nice.
I asked my fellow brunch guests for their reviews in 140 characters or less. Here’s what they said:
@ChicoFC Yummy pork sammy. Fried okra was given to my okra loving friends. Unlimited sweet tea!
@rookiephenom The eggs New Orleans was quite delish, but the hash browns stand out and gives it a nice kick.
@rookiephenom That and the fried cauliflower was definitely great to taste, hot sauce included.
@ebArchDesign Simple, casual atmosphere. Lovely presentation. Gorgeous server. Rabbit giblet sausage outshone Sally Lunn French toast.
The Verdict: I did like it here (and the company even more so), but the food didn’t completely wow me. I need something a bit more memorable to keep me coming back.