Tuesday, February 22, 2011

J.G. Domestic

Incredible meal at J.G. Domestic last week.  This latest creation from Jose Garces has landed in the former space occupied by Rae in the Cira Center.  If you're not sure where that is (like most Philadelphians) it's the big futuristic office building located directly north of 30th Street Station.  Putting it into context, it's very accessible from the Market Frankford line subway stop, or the regional rail lines if you're coming from outside of the city.  However, I don't think they're going to get much walk-in traffic given it's island-like location on the west side of the Schuykill. The interior is a tough place to feel intimate for a restaurant.  It's more glass & steel atrium then cozy dining spot.  Garces does a good job to define his space though, and plenty of reclaimed, rough hewn lumber and green ferns add some warmth.

So, onto the food!  Like most of Garces' ventures this is a small plates lineup.  Instead of going for Spanish or Mexican flavors though, this is exclusively American and draws on inspiration from areas around the country.  There's also some great American craft brews and a well put together wine list - I was drinking Allagash White most of the night.  The meal starts off with fresh baked rolls, sprinkled with good kosher salt and served alongside an incredibly rich and creamy butter spread that was nearer to creme fraiche than Keller's unsalted.  We ordered the popcorn with cheddar & horseradish and slim jg as snacks. The pop corn had a great kick from the horseradish but there were too many un-popped kernels that I kept biting into.  The slim jg was their take on beef jerkey, and blows away anything you'll find at Wawa.  It's house cured and served alongside some spicy ass mustard.  Mmmm.

Next up was a round of appetizers - the charcuterie plate, wood oven flatbread and fondue pot.  Along with our dining mates, we agreed that these were some of the best things we ate that night. The charcuterie was a great mix of meats, fresh bread, and the same spicy mustard served with the slim jg. The flatbread was incredible - fresh baked and topped with mushrooms, shaved black truffle, cheddar cheese and a rich dark egg yolk. This is everything good about America.  The fondue pot was even better, Keswick Creamery cheese with house made breadsticks and sliced apples for dipping.  We needed a second round of breadsticks to scrape the last little bits from the bottom.


The Hawaiian Opah (tuna) ceviche served with a side of passion fruit sorbet was perfectly done - as you'd expect from Garces at this point - and a node to his recent win on Iron Chef.  Pumpkin croquettes were nicely fried and sweet and rich inside.  The potato cassoulet is served with andouille, cabbage & grafton cheddar and an excellent take on the French countryside staple.  The andouille gave it some nice smokiness and real depth of flavor.  The Texas wild boar chop was surprisingly tasty - even the girls liked it.  Grilled and served with a mustard glaze over maple grits, it was tender and a great alternative to steak.  Lastly, the Jidori chicken roasted with baby carrots and fingerling potatoes put us over the top.  Meticulously cared for and prepared, Jidori is the Kobe beef of the chicken world.  Succulent and juicy with tons of flavor in this bird.



Dessert was fresh made beignets with bourbon vanilla mousseline, and Maker’s Mark butterscotch that was better than anything I'd had even in New Orleans.  Does Maker's Mark just make everything better?

Make the trek across the river and check out J.G. Domestic soon.

-T. Kaso

Food Baby Rating:  Twins!!! 

J.G. Domestic
Cira Centre, Ground Floor
2929 Arch Street, Philadelphia
Phone: 215-222-2363

Monday-Friday 11:30-3:00pm
Monday-Saturday 5:00-10:00pm
Happy Hour:
Monday-Friday 3:00-7:00pm
Closed Sundays

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