I’ve been to Jackie’s on five different occasions, which is as much as I’ve been to any restaurant in the entire DC area. My first visit left me angry about the service and complacent about the food. I liked the food on my second visit, loved it on my third, and was more neutral the fourth time. There has been a different chef almost every time. Last week was my first time experiencing the food of Chef Diana Davila-Boldin, who has been at the restaurant since April 2010. I find Jackie’s under her direction to be really, really good.
I am drawn to Jackie’s, despite my previous ups and downs, because I find the atmosphere tremendously appealing. It is a mash-up between industrial chic and psychedelic funky. The focus on locally-sourced seasonal ingredients is another plus.
I visit Jackie’s with my son, who as I have described in previous posts, is a vegetarian foodie. We’re dining before seeing a film at the AFI (American Film Institute).
We begin by sharing sweet corn hushpuppies with collard greens and cayenne infused butter. The hushpuppies arrive piping hot and perfectly crisped on the outside. After we devour the hushpuppies we look for something else to dip in the to-die-for butter. The greens work just fine.
|Jackie’s corn hushpuppies|
There are times when I want to go no further than an appetizer because I don’t think the meal can get any better than that. Sometimes I am right. Fortunately, not this time.
My entree is Amish chicken with Oaxacan mole, sweet potato tamale, and green beans. I expect a chicken mole to be flavorful and this does not disappoint. There is perhaps a touch too much sauce, but it’s so good it is easy to forgive. The spice is just right- not overpowering and not timid. The chicken is wonderfully moist. I am not a fan of the sweet potato tamale, however. I find it rather dull. Of course, this means I now have something to do with the extra sauce.
|Jackie’s chicken mole|
My son’s only entree option is the crispy Japanese eggplant, forbidden rice, tofu, bamboo and green curry, which actually needs to be adapted since the green curry is made with shrimp. They prepare the dish with mint pesto instead. It is a beautiful presentation. My son finds the dish satisfying but since he isn’t the biggest eggplant fan he is fairly neutral about it overall.
I have come a long way from my days of lo mein and sweet and sour chicken- clearly not in miles but definitely in dining diversity and sophistication. Happily Silver Spring has evolved right along with me.
Jackie’s Restaurant, 8081 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD
#38 Washingtonian‘s 100 Very Best Restaurants 2011
My rating (on a 1-5 scale): 3.9