Saturday, March 3, 2012

Big Jones

Location: 5347 N Clark St.
Cost: About $15 per person

Some of you may remember my post on Fish Bar. I was a big fan of the meal and all, but it was never meant to be. If my car hadn't broken down, we would've stuck to the original plan which was to head up north to Andersonville. When you get up near Clark and Balmoral there's just a smattering of great places to eat, the most popular of which being Great Lakes Pizza. That being said, brunch is no exception to the part of town. The area has a bit of an older crowd with plenty of families, but there's still a good contingency of hipsters keeping the trendier spots populated. Anyways, my buddy Dweiss called me one Saturday morning. Jeremy and I met him up there to check out Big Jones.

Most amazingly, they take breakfast reservations. I made one, but we still had to wait a good ten minutes for our table. It gave me a chance to check out most of the restaurant though. It's mostly one large room with a bar in the center. There's some nice seating that looks out over Clark Street, and we actually got sat in the back area. The hostess was super goofy by the way, asking us, "are you boy-o's ready to eat" when our table was set up. It was nice and quiet for how busy the place was, and the decorations had a nice southern feel.

The waiter was a mess. I hate it when service runs slowly, and then the waiter tells you about how long of a day he's had. Our food took a really long time to come out, and the complimentary beignets that everyone gets for appetizers didn't come until after our food. The cost is a few bucks more than the standard brunch fare in Chicago, but I think it was justified by the quality of the food.

The Food
We were anticipating the beignets, but since they weren't coming out, we ordered some popovers to get started. They were unbelievably light and buttery. They have a lot of other pastry options available, and I'd trust most anything on that part of the menu after trying these guys.

 The Popovers

For our main dishes Jeremy got the Big Jones Benedict, Dweiss got the Gumbo Ya-Ya, and I got the Simple Cajun Breakfast. The benedict was not traditional by any means. It was a huge hunk of cream seared, house cured ham on top of a homemade biscuit, topped with a poached egg. The ham had a nice snap and was really juicy. The gumbo had a deep richness and a spicy kick with each bite of andouille. What set it apart for me was the general smokiness to the dish. They serve it all day, but the waiter was saying how it's pretty much the most popular dish of any service. My Simple Cajun Breakfast had a cornbread muffin, cheesy grits, crawfish fritters, and two poached eggs. Eggs are eggs, but the fritters were something else. They were moist and steaming hot on the inside with huge chunks of crawfish. I've been really into grits lately, and these were just the thing to fill that craving.

 The Gumbo Ya-Ya

The Big Jones Benedict
(the dish was immaculate, however, as you can see my roommates shirt was not) 

 The Simple Cajun Breakfast

When we finally got the beignets they were fantastic. The dough was soft and stretchy inside while maintaining a good exterior crunch. There was enough powdered sugar to make any jerk that talks with his mouth open choke with each bite (this happens to me every time because I inhale the excess sugar).

 The Beignets

Way back in my post on Glenn's Diner, I talked about how much I love seafood for breakfast. If that's your thing then you should check out Big Jones too. The combination of excellent pastries and savory southern main dishes makes for one baller brunch. I hope the service issue was just an unfortunate occurrence because I'll be going back soon. I'm giving them 4.5 out of 5 Pearls.

Big Jones on Urbanspoon


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