Jack's Wife Freda
Everybody seems to love Jack’s Wife Freda. She has a lovely balance of character and crisp cleanliness, friendliness and functionality, and flavor and mindfulness. Plus, she is located in the heart of your favorite neighborhood, Soho.
Jack’s Wife Freda is truly beloved. A friend and I went to check it out for lunch during the week and the tiny restaurant was packed with a line out the door. I can only imagine what a Saturday afternoon looks like. I have a feeling that earlier is the better way to go. Once inside, the pure white walls have an instant calming effect, spattered here and there with some cool, elementary style paintings. The waiters, all very timely and friendly, wear tied bandanas around their head in the style of Tupac, but with an apron and striped shirt, it’s very approachable. A corner table is best, but two long tables in the middle seat dozens of diners, much like a school cafeteria.
I was surprised to observe that the menu is Middle Eastern inspired; a unique way to serve breakfast and brunch in a city that has it all. Some stand out dishes include the perfectly poached eggs and grilled halmoui, a great option for non-meat eaters looking for a filling meal. Freda has adapted Soho’s favorite snack of avocado toast to their menu, mashed on seeded bread with a sweet cherry tomato jam and za’atar sauce for the Middle Eastern twist.
The Rosewater waffles topped with Lebanese yogurt, strawberries and honey sounds as delightful as it tastes. Another favorite with Jack’s Wife Freda is Green Shakshuka, two baked eggs in a green spiced shakshuka sauce with challah toast perfect for sopping, all served in its own cast iron dish.
Freda has a speciality, that one dish you recall time and time again not only for its incredible flavor but its originality. It is the house cured duck bacon. I could elaborate on its crispy texture, or its salty bite, or even its fat, which is just enough for that great taste but not too much that is consumes all else, but I will leave it up to you to try some for yourself. At $6 for a side-serving, it may be the best $6 a bacon lover could ever spend.
All of the sandwiches come either with a green salad or thick steak fries with just the right amount of salt. French fries are a big deal breaker for me, for some reason I put an inordinate amount of faith in a restaurant’s fries and often change my opinion of the entire place according to their flavor and crispiness. Needless to say, I love Jack’s Wife Freda.
Jack’s Wife Freda is beautiful in the ways of subtle details. I nearly ran into the old fashioned dinner bell next to the bathroom, but the manager encouraged me to ring it. It’s kind of unbelievable how fun that simple act was for me. Coffee? Pick up a little packet of sugar that reads ‘Sugar for my Honey’, as if Freda scribbled it herself.
Finish it all off with a bite of the malva pudding. This pudding is in fact a little cake and each bite, balanced with the dollop of homemade whip cream, is a delight. A sweet sauce soaks the bread that is light and never soggy and surprisingly, not too sweet. With a coffee and some sugar for my honey, Jack’s Wife Freda completes a great meal at an affordable price, from start to finish.
Review By: Rachel Sult