Monday, January 19, 2009

The Jones Bistro

The Jones for a long time was my mom's favorite restaurant. Before I became a foodie, I tried it with my mom, about 4 years ago now, after the Seattle premiere of the documentary I am in: Heart of the Game. My mom always got the same thing: Tagliata. Over the years, she continued to frequent the restaurant and always got the same thing. After moving back last year, my mom, my sister and I went there again, but this time I was both a foodie and a vegan. And there was nothing on the menu that I could eat. I asked the waiter if the chef was able to prepare me a simple vegetable dish and to my delight, he created a masterful dish that had the waiter saying, "I'm going to have to ask him to make me that! It looks delicious". That is always a good sign for a kitchen and a chef. The Jones got an instant seal of approval from me. If they have fresh ingredients available and everything is not already cooked to a certain point, it bodes extremely well for the quality of the food. Eventually, my mom stopped going to the Jones, not because the food declined but because, well, I started dragging her elsewhere and because I think she got burnt out on Tagliata.

But last week, we decided to go again. We had made plans to go to Poppy, but neither of us were feeling particularly interested in a culinary odyssey or adventure, we were looking for consistent, hearty, tasty, comfort without necessarily being bad for you, food. The Jones is a neighborhood joint and fits that bill perfectly. And I was curious to try it again now that I wasn't vegan. I needed some "pull the blanket over my head and hide in the dark" mood food and the Jones provided it. The Jones is the perfect kind of place to go when you just can't decide what to have for dinner or don't want to make a fuss. They have good drinks, respectable but not overwhelming portions and consistently good food.

I picked up my mom and we drove over. We sat in the bar and threw ourselves into conversation, ordering our drinks and temporarily ignoring the menu. But when we did look at the menu, we both found ourselves smack dab in the middle of a dilemma. Everything looked and sounded delicious. Salads, appetizers, main dishes I think I wanted about 3 of each. Finally I decided to do a double. Double salad that is, one from the salad menu and one from the main. I got the green bean salad with had pickled red onions as my starter and the Jones Salad which included steak skewers (which is one of the things I had wanted off the appetizer menu). My mom got the potato leek soup with avocado butter and a steak sandwich with fries as her main. There was nothing ground breaking or avant garde about anything we got or tasted. It was just plain delicious. My mom's soup was creamy and smooth, but not heavy. My green bean salad was crunchy and vinegary, just the way I like it. Our main dishes were pleasing and the portions did not over- or under- whelm us. I had running nearly 20 miles that day and left content.

As much as I like crazy, new, never before done food, I still highly value well done basics. The Jones is a neighbor joint that fills the bill nicely. It does its job. It satisfies, its comforting without being greasy, heavy or unhealthy. It has an enjoyable laid back environment, friendly service, no wait. On a day where all I wanted to do was sit in the dark and brood about things, the Jones managed to shoe horn me out of that mentality by offering good food, fair price and an environment in which I could tuck into deep conversation and never have to put on any pretense. As I say in my previous post about Oddfellows, Kisaku, etc, sometimes food experiences aren't about only the non-standard, crazy, new, special things. Sometimes it is about what is good to someone who likes the same thing or a few things, sometimes, even a lot of times, food experiences are more than just about the food, it is about our lives. We don't live in a vacuum, or eat in one, so we probably shouldn't review in one either. My reviews come out of that place for sure. Context is everything. And as I have done in all my previous restaurant posts and will continue to do, I have provided you with a context in which you will enjoy (or not) a restaurant. I am glad I took the blanket off my head and went to the Jones, it was just the remedy I needed.

The Jones Bistro on Urbanspoon

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