I’m always excited to continuously discover new eateries in Manhattan, and even more excited when the atmosphere is one, which I haven’t yet experienced in any other restaurant. When I was asked to pop in for dinner at Jacob’s Pickles, I didn’t hesitate to say no. A restaurant with “pickles” in their name? I love pickles!—how could you not? They’re the perfect topper to any sandwich, the exact side of crunch you need to accompany your burger and fries and can not be passed up when fried up and served hot! When I arrived at Jacob’s I quickly got the feeling of Southern comfort from their dark woody accents yet trendy-chic as lit candles glowed to tracks of Kanye West playing in the background. There was a mix of an after work crowd and love struck couples enjoying cocktails and sharing plates. The back wall of the distressed wooden bar was decked with bottles of gin, vodka and bourbon, practically begging you to order up a glass of whatever specialty drinks they serve. The weathered-wood walls showcased a range of beer growlers, artisanal spirits and Jacob’s own handcrafted pickles (the best decor in the joint).
Back to the pickles. We were seated and greeted by a friendly hostess and even better, a server from the South who knew everything and anything about Southern cookin’. First order off the menu were Jacob’s fried whole pickles paired with a spicy chipotle red mayo ($9). These pickles came out battered and lightly fried (about 6 per serving) and garnished with fresh dill. They were crunchy yet still had the taste of a classic sour and bread-and-butter pickle. We also decided to try two of their house-made cocktails. My guest ordered the rosemary vodka lemonade (house infused rosemary, Tito’s vodka, muddled lemon and rosemary, $12) while I went for the Kentucky porch sipper (bourbon, muddled lemon, lime, orange and house apple bitters served up in a mason jar, $12). Both were the perfect summertime cocktails. Not too sweet and refreshing enough on a hot summer’s night. Jacob’s has an extensive beer and cocktail list as well as beer floats, a variety of root beers on tap, home made lemonades and ice cream floats (yum!).
Lots of the menu items, especially the pickles, are a play on American foods mixed in with unique combinations of flavors. It was important for owner, Jacob Hadjigeorgis, to incorporate his youthful years growing up in Queens and having tons of different cuisines available in his neighborhood. He reflected his neighborhood roots known as being a “melting pot of great cuisines” into his pickles and dishes on the menu.
My guest and I also were tempted to taste Jacob’s mac & cheese (served in a skillet, baked to perfection, $8) and fried green tomatoes ($9). My favorite of the two was the mac & cheese. Tons of gooey cheese melted and baked over penne pasta, with just the perfect amount of cheesy crust on top. This portion was large enough for up to four people to share, but we almost polished off the skillet, just us two.
For dinner my guest ordered the lighter of the options and went with the grilled salmon salad (baby greens, sliced oranges, shallots, cilantro topped with a light orange vinaigrette, $18). This salad was a great pick for a hot summer day. Zesty, light and absolutely refreshing. The salmon was cooked perfectly and warmed the greens right up. I snagged a bite and couldn’t help but go in for another sweet orange slice! I, on the other hand, kicked it up a notch with the ultimate Southern biscuit sandwich (honey chicken and pickles, buttermilk fried chicken, hot sours and clover honey on a warm homemade biscuit served with grain miller organic cheese grits, $15). It couldn’t get anymore Southern than this. Everything from the fried chicken, to the buttery biscuit, sweet honey and cheesy grits were exceptional. One of the best chicken and grits I’ve ever tasted!
What’s great about Jacob’s is the portion sizes. Plates could be shared and were large enough for more than two. The menu ranges from sandwiches to entrees, small plates to pickle jars and even house made sausage and salads, something for everyone. We almost felt guilty skipping over the delectable dessert options like fried Oreos and biscuit bourbon bread pudding, but we were so full. We ended the night with two cups of French pressed coffee accompanied by cream poured into an old school milk bottle. The coffee was one of the best cups I’ve had in a long time. We sipped them to the last drop and headed on our merry way, bellies filled to the brim. Just around 9 p.m. Jacob’s started to get a really great late night vibe as the lights dimmed and the bar area began to grow with a younger-trendy looking crowd.
Don’t forget to stop in for their delicious brunch served daily until 4 p.m. as well as their take-out to go menu offering everything from their infamous biscuits to pickle jars and preserves.
Jacob’s Pickles: 509 Amsterdam Ave New York, NY 10024 Tel: 212.470.5566.