Located few steps from Central Park in the 1 Hotel Central Park, Jams, the restaurant of Celebrity Chef Jonathan Waxman is a little gem. I am always a bit apprehensive when going to a restaurant attached to a hotel, but at Jams, I was blown away. With its open kitchen in the back where the magic happens, the beautiful decor with its exposed brick and reclaimed oak, as well as the large windows, Jams serves an interesting menu made of seasonal dishes, some made to share. I should mention the great service we got, showing the difference between hospitality and regular service. This is the whole package that guarantees an amazing experience.
I started the meal by ordering a cocktail called "penicillin", composed of Copper Dog whisky, lemon, ginger and lagavulin rinse (its is a Scotch). I loved it: not strong, it had a beautiful color and a nice taste, both acidic and spicy.
Then came our appetizer: we chose the chickpea fritters that are in fact falafel. They were sitting on a delicious beet hummus with shaved cauliflower salad, yogurt and a housemate flatbread similar to pita, that was soft. This was very good, the most interesting part being the beet hummus that had such a nice purple color and tasted really good. Jodi does not like beets, but loved it. I just wished there were more of the fritters that were superb, not dry and not greasy.
For her entrée, Jodi ordered the bucatini with tricolor cauliflower, roasted garlic, broccoli rabe-toasted seed pesto. The pasta, homemade, was superb, well cooked, smothered in a very garlicky pesto that was quite good.
On my side, I could not resist getting the roasted Pekin duck breast, served with seared cabbage, pea tendrils and cherry mostarda, a combination of sweetened cherries and spicy mustard seed that is found throughout Italy. The duck was sublime! I mean, you need to like duck cooked rare, but if you do, you will love it: the skin was slightly crispy and deliciously fatty; I also love duck with an element of sweetness and the cherry mustard was perfect.
Last was dessert and we hesitated a bit. There have a baked Alaska, as well as a brown-butter warm rhubarb tart, but we decided to try their chocolate bread pudding that is one of the best I had, like a chocolate molten cake that is perfectly cooked, the center oozing from the cake. It was served with a toasted marshmallow ice cream that was terrific, and pecan praline.
This was so good that we will certainly go back to Jams. Know that the menu on their website does not seem to be up to date, but I am sure you will find a dish you will love. This is a great address to know!
Enjoy (I did)!
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Jams - 1414 6TH AVENUE, NEW YORK, NY, 10019