Jackson 20: Restaurant Review

Jackson 20 is a contemporary Colonial style restaurant and bar that captures the simple, classic charm of the colonial period. The restaurant, with whimsical nods to Andrew Jackson, is a warm and bustling “town center” where locals gather with friends and partners for a casual bite in the bar, or for a full meal in the dining room.

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The frequently-changing menu demonstrates the restaurant’s commitment to organic ingredients and sustainability with a chef’s garden planted in the courtyard, and featured fruits, vegetables and meat purchased through local, trusted farmers. The chef’s extensive seafood selection includes dishes such as Maryland Crab Chowder, Grilled Brook Trout and Roasted Virginia Striped Bass.

Ok so that is the spill. Now about my experience there. We made reservations for 9 p.m at around 6:30 p.m on a Friday night and all I will say is it was jumping. We thought that it would have mellowed out by the time we got their later that night but it was in fact still going hard. We were quickly seated, one side of the table was a regular chair and the other side was a long sofa like end with pillows, a very nice touch. The thing that you will quickly notice is the noise level full of tons of chatter you definitely won’t feel like your having an intimate dinner alone but the quality of the food makes up for that, ahh.. the food.

So we started off with the shrimp and lobster bisque. This dish was well lets say disappointing. It suffered from a lack of the proper consistency and could have used more salt. There were some fried pieces in bisque which were actually the highlight of that dish but on the whole the dish was a failure. In an odd twist next came the dinner muffins and biscuits. The biscuits were ok but the muffins were delicious. We had several of them and had to restrain ourselves for the sake of not getting too full.

Next came the pulled pork fritters with BBQ sauce. These I thought would be interesting. You know their was the risk of the dish just being another thing someone tried to deep fry. Luckily though, the pulled pork fritters was a huge success although the BBQ sauce was way too tangy and we could have done without it. The coleslaw a nice a nice addition.hotel-monaco-logo

Then finally came the main course. Steak. A perfectly cooked steak is a thing of beauty. It was a grilled to perfection and perfectly seasoned. I ordered it medium and it was medium, juicy and tender. I can NOT stress enough the value of ordering a steak cooked a certain way and them actually properly doing it. A well done steak is simply ruined. This ribeye was topped with a thyme au jus and onion straw accompanied by potatoes au gratin with bacon and smoked gouda and spinach sauteed lightly in butter with onions and garlic. The onion straw was memorable for the fact that it actually added to the overall flavor of the meal rather than being a nice garnish. And once I paired the steak with a nice Pinot Noir that they suggested it took the dish over the top. While the bisque was suspect, and the appetizer was only good, the main course was excellent. It was one of the best steaks I have had in a while and I eat a lot of steaks at a lot of great steak joints.

So while we only caught a snapshot of menu I must say that the place is definitely happening, and it appears that the main courses are always delicious. I would definitely go back to check out the rest of chef Jeff Armstrong’s culinary creations. So if you are ever in the area, or even better a guest at the Hotel Monaco be sure to check out Jackson 20.

Where you can find it
480 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

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