Restaurant review: Jackson & Rye, Soho

Jackson & Rye - Restaurant front

Jackson & Rye - Restaurant front - Credit: Archant

Americans are famous for their love for food, and Jackson & Rye, one of the newest eateries carrying the stars and stripes, serves up such a comprehensive feast.

Jackson & Rye - Inside restaurant

Jackson & Rye - Inside restaurant - Credit: Archant

Americans are famous for their love for food, so it’s fitting that Jackson & Rye, one of the more recent eateries carrying the stars and stripes in Soho, should serve up such a comprehensive feast.

Jackson & Rye - Shrimp & grits

Jackson & Rye - Shrimp & grits - Credit: Archant

Its moniker screams of the south, and dishes like shrimp and grits and crispy buttermilk fried chicken are testament to this, as well as the decor with the wooden ceiling fans almost giving the illusion of being in a Tennessee saloon.

But there’s also a subtle, upmarket, New York side to this place, with its list of custom cocktails and the packed restaurant floor where waitresses buzz around almost constantly.

The first flavours to cross our pallets were the cocktails, we tried Goldrush, a zingy and refreshing combination of Rittenhouse Rye, lemon, honey, and the evening’s special, a delightfully sweet and boozy take on Apple pie in a glass.

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To start we sampled the shrimp and grits and the crispy squid.

The grits, a sort of savoury corn based rice pudding that didn’t look particularly appetising, was a revelation of salt and sweet flavours and provided a great contrast to the crunchy, spicy shrimp.

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For our main course we tried the NY striploin steak with peppercorn sauce and fries and one of the restaurant’s specialities, the crispy buttermilk fried chicken with fries and spicy coleslaw.

The steak, cooked medium rare, fell apart in the mouth and was bursting with flavour, while the dash of whisky gave the peppercorn sauce a real edge.

The chicken was comfort food at its finest, a sort of gourmet KFC, as if the colonel had a Michelin star.

We were also recommended the slab bacon as a side, which was thick, greasy, but incredibly tasty.

The desert was a mixed bag, the melting chocolate sundae promised so much, with the spectacle of the butterscotch sauce, poured over its chocolate dome ceiling which withers away, but didn’t quite come together.

However, devouring layers of milk ice cream, mascarpone mouse, honey comb and popping candy wasn’t exactly unpleasant.

The peanut butter cookies with chocolate sauce and ice cream were a refreshingly playful and uncomplicated affair and a delicious way to end the meal.

Jackson & Rye is well worth a visit for anyone who appreciates a no thrills, large portions and full flavour approach to American cuisine, without the tackiness its often accompanied with.

The restaurant has an authenticity about it, focusing on good food and a lively atmosphere.

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