Big Jones is a “Coastal Southern Cuisine” place on Clark Street in Andersonville. We recently ate there with friends on a Friday night. Both Gal and I have had the brunch there, so we were looking forward to the dinner. I would write a bit about the brunch, but I want to go back for more. So I’m going to say I don’t remember and I need a refresher.
Anyway, the dinner. Well, for one thing, the décor doesn’t quite match the menu, in my mind. Inside is a nice, formal, modern dining room. Stylish wall sconces and matching chandeliers. (Actually, watch your head with those wall sconces if you sit in front of them. Seriously. There’s no clearance between the table and the hanging ball of head bonk.) It seems too fancy to go with my gumbo, which to me is a down home meal.
I started with crab cakes, which were alright but relied too much on veggies in the patty. Not the best starter–that would have been the gumbo.
The gumbo is wonderful. Mildly spicy sausage melds with the other flavors in a pleasing tomato broth. The rice comes on the side, so I’d take a spoonful of rice, dunk it in the gumbo and be rewarded with a varied mouthful of flavor. Keeping the rice on the side made its taste more distinct, so it was a good base to add the gumbo taste to.
It was the highlight of my meal. I ordered it as a starter, but next time I’m back I’ll order the entrée. Seriously, it was great.
Benne Crusted Chicken
The benne crusted chicken I ordered as an entrée paled in comparison. The benne seemed to be sesame seeds on the chicken, and they provided a nice crisp skin. The polenta bed in beef broth was just alright.
I enjoyed it, and would love to go back for more gumbo.
Thank God for the gumbo, because although it physically hurts me to talk smack about restaurants in my neighborhood, I feel obliged to say that I was pretty disappointed. Going there was my choice, which makes it even worse.
The main issue was the service. Now, I worked in the food industry for years so I’m one of those people who tips 20% even when the food arrives cold and I actually saw the server spit in it. The night we were there, however, we watched all the tables around us receive delicious looking corn bread baskets while we sat salivating for, literally, an hour. I mentioned it several times to the staff. No response. Maybe the oven shut down. Maybe there’s a national corn shortage. I’d have been okay had someone communicated with us, but as it was, by the time our meals actually arrived, we’d been sitting there for almost two hours with no explanation.
HOWEVER, before you disregard Big Jones, I must tell you that brunch there is absolutely delightful. Delicious sugared beignets, fresh dark coffee and an array of truly noteworthy brunch options. My favorite: the eggs benedict, ham replaced by fried green tomatoes.
I must also say that they serve tasty cocktails. To allay my hunger, I helped myself to a couple Charleston Mules, which is made with tea vodka and ginger beer. I love anything made with ginger beer.
Summary: Check out the brunch. Skip the dinner. If you must dine, drink.