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in a word: pretty how.

the specs: #0520  
address, hours & details via isthmus; reviews at yelp, ruppert food blog, isthmus, madison fish fry; opening article at isthmus; links collected at del.icio.us; listing at eatdrinkmadison; official web site, Jacs on Urbanspoon

latest jacs news and reviews

jm ate the fish fry.
nichole ate the moules et frites with a colonist.
marissa ate the pesto chicken sandwich with an eden margarita.
the bill was about $50, or $16.67/person, plus tip.
jm gave jacs a b+; nichole gave jacs a b; marissa gave jacs an a- (see our grading rubric).

The colonista friday night found us at jacs - the semi-swanky phoenix that arose from the embers of monroe st. bistro. the feel is the same - the boys we mean are quite refined - but the problems that we had there had not really been alleviated. the dining room was still too crowded even for those who don't necessarily shake the mountains when they dance. the westerly front window still has no shades but if you time it right that's less of a problem. it isn't that we didn't enjoy jacs; it's just that jacs seems to have something to prove -- and they want to charge you two or three dollars extra to prove it.

marissa was smart and got her fantastic eden margarita at the bar, where it was half price and just as delicious, due in no small part to the house-made sour. nichole's colonist, a cocktail with sparkling wine, limoncello and ginger, was a dry, light complement to the moules et frites but made her feel a vague imperialist guilt. the moules had been prepped by a hand not shy about piling on the lipids or very fresh black pepper.

Moules et frites

Fish fryjm found the fish fry a little too delicate for his tastes. the breading was light, which is usually good, but the tartar sauce tasted as if it had been wrung out of a tartar-soaked napkin and topped with whatever spice was on hand.  the potato pancakes were cooked well but arrived, in truth, much colder than he expected. the apple sauce and slaw were all right, though this added up to a meal heavy on pweciousness and light on flavor.

Chicken sandwich and friesmarissa's pesto chicken sandwich was firmly in the tasty category; she just wished that she could get her mouth around it. owing to some structural issues, this sandwich ended up being more like a salad with a roll by the time the meal ended. the clam chowder was good, but needed doctoring with salt and pepper to excel.

Soupby the end of the evening, marissa had sussed out the menu's audience: bar traditionalists who like a nicer meal now and again. we'd try it again but probably not on a busy night.


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Your "official website" link points to Yelp. Not that it matters; jacs' website has been non- to minimally-functioning for months.

Fixed - thanks!

Best frites in Madison!!!

I was actually glad to see the place full and hopping on a recent Friday night happy hour visit. This is a fun and friendly neighborhood bar. The kind I'd like to see stick around for a long time. Try a Belgian beer flight sometime. Lots of fun and you can get a good sampling of Belgian beers.

After quite a while, the wife and I went back to jacs a few days ago. The Italian pork sandwich is still quite good, though it pushes the limits of what I want to pay for it. The veggie pita sandwich fed my wife's growing fondness for hummus-dressed sandwiches, and I have to admit it's rubbing off on me, too. The frites were almost as good as Brasserie V's. V.v. close.

Also, Potosi Snake Hollow IPA on tap, which is all kinds of awesome.

We went the other day and everything was very tasty. The very best part was the chocolate flourless cake that ended our lunch. Yum! We'll be back again!

We had started going to Jac's on a regular basis, but won't be going again any time soon. The food is good, and the selection of beer very good--though in both cases probably not as good as Brasserie V nearby. The service has always been a bit slow, but friendly, and it is a neighborhood place for us.

On our last visit, on a crowded Friday night, the hostess/manager did a particularly bad job of estimating the wait for a table--which happens of course from time to time--but when we asked about it, she was nothing short of rude. So rude that another patron waiting at the bar said to us "I'm sorry you had to go through that" as we left having waited an hour (after being told 1/2 hour) still not seated.

So only go if you're prepared to wait, and prepared to put up with the rudest restaurant hostess ever. And don't bother to complain, as the manager seems to think that customer service means that customers serve at the pleasure of the staff.

Better yet, just go to Brasserie V.

My mother and I went to Jac's last night, and I have to say we were pretty disappointed. I had the ratatouille, which wasn't actually ratatouille -- it was a base of extremely mushy polenta covered with a bland red pasta sauce, and set on top of that were large chunks of dry, grilled vegetables. My mother's burger was just OK, but her "frites" (fries) were tiny - most were shorter than 1" and many fries were only 1/2" long. The total bill, with no appetizers, no beverages, and no desserts, was $30 before tip.

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