While everyone is crying over Barbuto’s soon departure from the city, we should all rejoice that at least Chef Jonathan Waxman has reincarnated his first restaurant Jams and opened a new spot just south of Central Park on the east side. While it’s not the exact same menu as Barbuto, that chicken is the same. However, believe it or not, I refused the chicken and went with some of Waxman’s old favorites and new dishes to see how his new baby played out. In case you don’t much about this chef, he trained with legendary chef Alice Waters of Chez Pannise out on the West Coast in the 70’s.
Be fun and start with the Duck Confit Tacos. Made with that California love of salsa, guacamole, radish, and creme fraiche, these little guys are a great way to we the palette. The meat is tender as can be and tastes like summer. Also, throw in that Kale Salad with anchovy dressing and breadcrumbs because you need your greens and it’s probably the most simplest yet most comforting kale salad out on these Manhattan streets. It’s thoroughly massaged through and the dressing is more like a layer of light cheese taste than a dressing that drips or is too rich. I also loved Jams Pancakes which includes red pepper, smoked salmon, corn sauce, creme fraiche, and caviar. It kind of feels like you are breaking the rules by having pancakes at dinner without any other “breakfasty” items. I think this is my favorite dishes not just because the mini pancakes are so cute, but because I never would have thought to pair smoked salmon with them, and I couldn’t be happier to see the marriage of two of my favorite foods succeed this way. It’s three perfectly round little cakes and the salmon looks delicately placed in a rose bud shape with the corn sauce beneath. Get in there!
Squid Ink Rigatoni
As for pasta, the Squid Ink Rigatoni with peekytoe crab, garlic, and chili didn’t stand a chance with us. This dish was devoured immediately and the pasta itself is so wholesome and dense making you pretty positive that this was just handmade that day. It’s a great way to end the meal and causes you to say “yum” pretty quickly. They also offer Gnocchi with Lobster and Risotto with Wild Mushrooms and Arugula Pesto should you be craving another friendly pasta. We skipped the Charcoal Grill/ Plancha Oven/ Saute section without any regrets. There are too many small plates to ponder over when sharing. For the entrees, they have pretty much one of everything if you are ordering solo or just want one wholesome dish. Also skip the fries (not a fan of their homemade ketchup because I’m too loyal to Heinz), however, the Roasted Corn Esquites taste like crack, and I could make it through the day just eating this at every meal.
It’s great to see a new fire light up by Chef Waxman, and Jams is in a gorgeous hotel with a very inviting atmosphere just right below the park. I ventured on in late after a concert in Central Park and it would also be a great post theater dinner place to stroll right on into with no problem.