204 - 206 East 85th Street
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 327-2272
Site: Visit the restaurant site
2nd Cuisine: French (Bistro)
Area: East 80s
Entree Price: $20-25
My family was in town for a visit and I was looking for a place to take them for brunch. Jacques isn’t a restaurant you’d just happen to stumble upon, as it’s located on a side street, but luckily I had done my research ahead of time to find an establishment that could accommodate 7 adults and a baby without an hour’s wait, and Jacques Brasserie turned out to be exactly what I needed.
When we first entered, we were a little worried that the space was so empty for 1pm on a Saturday. After all, a line out the door is usually the tell-tale sign that the food is good. However, we were greeted with a smile and promptly ushered to our table (which was really several tables pushed together).
My family has a wide variety of preferences, but everyone found something on the brunch menu. At $11-14, the sandwiches are a great option; from a traditional croque madame to a blue cheese burger, all are affordable and tasty, and are served with a small green salad and fries. My brother-in-law chose the burger and thought it was perfectly seasoned (he’s a true foodie, so coming from him, it’s a rare compliment). I had the croque monsieur and thought both the fried coating on the outside and the gooey cheese on the inside were immensely satisfying. Others in my group sampled the salade Nicoise ($16), the l’omellette au fromage ($11.95), which was stuffed with both Swiss cheese and black forest ham, and the roasted chicken sandwich ($12). My baby nephew was very happy with his carrots, bread, and fries from others’ plates.
Overall, we were delighted with our meal, and we decided that the relatively empty room was only a testament to the fact that as a French restaurant, Jacques is better known for dinner. The menu includes mussels served in your choice of 6 different sauces (each $18), and an impressive list of main dishes. The canard a l’orange ($24) is a classic French staple, but if you’re in the mood for seafood, you’re in luck. Whether you choose the tilapia, cod, salmon, trout, or sea scallops ($21-29), you’re sure to be pleased with your elegantly presented and carefully prepared dish.
There are fancier and more well-known French restaurants out there, but for a charming setting and attentive service (not to mention great food), Jacques will satisfy the whole family.
Review By: Chelsee Pengal