Adventures of a Gastronome in Training (GIT)

One amateur foodie's quest for culinary enlightenment. Musings on cooking, dining, food products, basically all things edible are fair game.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Jacques-Imo's Fried Chicken

Recently, Marty and I decided to take advantage of his Central Park tennis plans to try out Jacques-Imo’s on the Upper West Side with Leb and Terry who live near there. I’ve been to the original in New Orleans and loved it, but I knew not to expect the same experience in the New York offshoot. As the reviewers have described, it is a kitschy place with Spanish moss dripping from the ceiling and murals featuring alligators covering the walls. It’s a silly, kind of over the top place, but then again so is the original. Amanda Hesser had given it the harsh “satisfactory” rating sans star, but had many kind words for the fried chicken:

“…Jacques-Imo's immortal dish: the fried chicken plate. There is a choice of white or dark meat. You must have the dark, and with it the corn macque choux and mashed potatoes. And then you will have an exceptional dinner at a restaurant that, quirky and flawed as it is, has something that no other New York restaurant can touch.”

So, we decided to give it a shot with the full intention of just ordering the “immortal dish”, fried chicken with corn macque choux ($14.95). Marty did regretfully supplement his meal with a half dozen awful oysters. When our plates of fried chicken arrived, we all charged in. Silence followed. No one wanted to admit it, but it wasn’t that good. Eventually, Terry said, “Popeye’s is better.” I guess that would sum it up, except I would further note that to me, it had a strange, almost metallic aftertaste. The recommended corn macque choux, a Cajun smothered corn dish that is a favorite of mine, was also disappointingly bland. Actually, the best part of my meal was my Abita Amber, but at $6 a pop, I was quickly reminded that I was about as far from the bayou as I could be.

Hesser wasn’t the only one to praise the fried chicken. The folks on Egullet concurred as well, but they did bring up an interesting point. Why in the world would the New York Times choose Jacques-Imo’s for one of its 52 annual reviews? To me it makes no sense, this is not the kind of place shooting for stars. Why then slap it in the face with a satisfactory? At best, it could have been reviewed in the $25 and under column. Who knows, with a different reviewer, I might have completely steered clear of the place, and enjoyed a nice meal from Popeye’s when the hankering for fried chicken came a-knockin'.

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Blogger pedro velasquez said...

We were undecided as to whether or not we wanted to do our usual Fri. night at Emeril's. Called for last minute resv. sportsbook and were unable to get in till 9:30. Instead, we took our son and his gf to JACQUES IMOS.
IMO JI is generally a bad idea. I like their fried chicken (period). I can't remember the last time we actually waited for a table anywhere. We just go elsewhere. Should have passed . After about 1 1/2 hours and several overly sweet margaritas, bet nfl we were seated. We should have taken the 9:30 at Emeril's.
The food was typical JI, (which is why we've only been once post K). The fried chicken was not nearly as good as either my son or I remembered. Godzilla meets fried green tomato had a unappealing sweetness. Redfish was deemed fair. For apps we had some sort of fried eggplant ball with crab dressing and the alligator cheesecake. These were the best selections of the night.
Sat. lunch was at the GREEN GODDESS. We enjoyed trying the creative plates. My husband really liked the food. My son and I were less impressed. Although nothing was bad, http://www.enterbet.com we had nothing that would bring us back.

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We used to be really big fans of this local favorite, a funky, colorful neighborhood joint that the natives love. But the last few times we ate here, the food wasn't worth the wait, which can be absurdly long. So stick to the fried chicken
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