Monday, August 31, 2009

Blue Plate Special at Jump - Great Deal and Great Place for Friends

I'm happy to have more friends move to the big city, and even more so when they love to eat as much as we do. Last night, we had a lovely (albeit late) dinner with two pairs of our newly wed friends that are new to the city...what better welcome and relief from the stresses of moving than food!

Jump Cafe was the beginning of Oliver & Bonacini restaurants, known famously for Canoe. It is located in the heart of the financial district - a blessing for the weekend as there is always capacity for last minute reservations. I like Jump because the food is good and the menu has a wide range of options, particularly suitable for groups and if you're not sure of everyone's tastes. I also love that it offers great value in the blue plate specials - a 3 course meal for $35 - probably one of the best deals you'll find downtown for a nice dinner. The term "blue plate" came from the depression era in reference to low priced dinner specials (thanks wikipedia!).

Last night, 5 of us took in the blue plate - Tony of course splurged on the dinner special instead, an impressive lobster sheppard's pie. The great thing about the blue plate is that there are options - to start was a choice between butternut squash soup (I have had it in the past, and it is delicious), crab cakes with chipotle tartar sauce, or broccolini and baby spinach salad. The soup special of the night happened to be New England Clam chowder, which I love, and the waiter was happy to substitute for me. When it arrived, however, there were no clams. I'm not generally one to complain about my food, I just won't return, but the waiter had spent a good minute "selling" the special with details of the delicious clams...and really, clam chowder with no clams?? As expected of any good restaurant, they were happy to replace my soup and a new bowl came back freshly cooked full of clams and assorted vegetables - I wonder if they made it from scratch! Regardless, good service is a check. For my main, I chose lamb - which was delicious...and now that I think back, I never had a chance to ask Matt and Amber how their chicken or snapper was! Again, great options all around, whatever your preferences. I had the chocolate torte for dessert (although I was too full to finish) and the others tried panna cotta and the cheese plate, which apparently had a lovely Quebec cheese - can't go wrong!

Overall I think Jump has good food and great value. The one major downside is how slow they are - we arrived just before 9 and dinner didn't come until at least 10:30 or was a late night, and good thing no one was starving (I think)! Last time, my table had whiled the night away over a bottle or two of wine, so I would suggest a group visit and lots of drinks if you decide to stop in on the weekend, not a bad excuse to catch up with friends - just don't make plans to rush off! I'd like to believe they are much faster serving the weekday crowd, but I'll have to wait for someone to tell me.

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