It was a long time in coming, but Jack Gage American Tavern finally opened in December. The building at 5031 Main sat vacant for what seemed like years after Blair Hurst bought it and Double Dragon closed.
Having been in that Chinese restaurant, I’m happy to say that the restaurant was gutted and completely renovated. Though there’s an emphasis on the bar business, it’s clear that Hurst is interested in patrons coming for the food as well as spirits–both the general manager and chef hail from Plaza III.
The same menu is offered all day. Though the restaurant is only open for breakfast on weekends, egg dishes are available any time. For a satisfying, but rather rich entree, go for the crab hash, with two eggs and a spicy Hollandaise sauce. The sauce threatened to overwhelm the dish, next time I’ll order it on the side, and overall it was a successful combination. Chunks of crab and potato matched up well with the runny eggs.
From 4-6 pm, many but not all of the starters are half-priced. The tuna and seafood appetizers were not discounted. But that didn’t stop us from having some tasty sliders and awesome onion straws with “comeback” sauce. Despite the small size of the burgers, the kitchen prepared them medium rare as requested and they were juicy and flavorful. The baby crabcake sliders were also a pleasant surprise, with minimal filler.
On another visit, we had the flat iron sandwich. It was fine, but not as enticing as its description– it lacked pizazz. And the fries were nothing special–I would have expected them to be an important component of the extensive burger and sandwich plates. Offering the onion straws as an optional side would be a great addition.
The Chopped Tavern salad is Jack Gage’s version of a Cobb, only with the same “comeback” sauce with which the onion straws are served–the spicy tomato based dressing pairs nicely with the salad.
The menu is large, leading one to wonder whether the kitchen can execute on all fronts. I will be interested to sample the rotisserie chicken, which the menu proclaims is a specialty of the house, as well as the ribs–they’ll have to be pretty incredible to rival Houston’s or our numerous BBQ joints about town.
Jack Gage is off to a running start, and has a good vibe going for it. The place is packed with patrons of all ages, enjoying each other and soaking up the welcoming and friendly ambiance.