Kick out the Jams

Sure, Jam’s launch date discrepancy last week resulted in the tragic loss of 15 minutes of my life walking to the East Village and the utter disappointment of a tasty, but predictable brunch sought elsewhere. But, after securing a copy of the menu, I was willing to forgive. 

From their kitchen into my stomach (Photo: Carly Fisher)

From their kitchen into my stomach (Photo: Carly Fisher)

Ladies and gentlemen, today I am professing my love. Gonna shout it out loud and proud without shame from every rooftop: I LOVE EATING PIG FACE! 

Due to the glowing reputation of partners, Jerry Suqi (Chickpea) and chef Jeffrey Mauro (Charlie Trotters, North Pond), aided by sous chef Mike Noll (Schwa), it seems only natural that Jam is receiving kind words. Featuring a menu consisting of thoughtfully paired seasonal ingredients with most items under $10, the restaurant had me at, “Hello, we’re not open yet. Please come back tomorrow.” Oh, you.

Chic and modern, the space resembles something straight out of the pages of a CB2 catalogue. Albeit a smaller restaurant, tables provide ample room to maintain intimate conversation, along with a relatively quick turnover and painless wait time. Although open kitchens provide an entertaining view, the restaurant would benefit from installing proper ventilation, as the ceiling fans only helped to push hot air around and bind my dress to the plexiglass seat.

(Photo: Carly Fisher)

(Photo: Carly Fisher)

Those with less culinary enthusiasm might find the prospects of a good hunk of pork cheek in their breakfast sandwich to be an unusual or revolting notion. But if you have never known the simple joy of acquainting yourself with this rare carnal pleasure, consider adding yet another task to that endless daily to-do list.

Egg sandwich at Jam (Photo: Carly Fisher)

Egg sandwich at Jam (Photo: Carly Fisher)

Intrigued by the pairing of pork cheek with fried egg, ricotta salata and pickled plums, the egg sandwich ($10) was an unusual, but welcomed surprise. Savory and tender, the pork cheek bears a texture very similar to barbacoa that balanced well with the sweetness of the pickled plums.  The malted custard French toast with macerated stone fruit, lime leaf cream and pink peppercorn ($10) had a subtle flavor and moist consistency to satisfy the sweet toothed. The only miss of the meal was the fingerling potatoes. While nicely oiled and roasted, a touch of salt and pepper couldn’t hurt the kitchen. 

Sharing is caring (Photo: Carly Fisher)

Susan Lee Chun, artist and brunch date of the week (Photo: Carly Fisher)

Jam seems to be off to a promising start with its unique menu that is affordable enough to invite additional visits. Given that most of us are living off of credit cards and broken dreams, the restaurant’s cash only policy is kind of a bummer — but definitely something to keep in mind to avoid tacking on an unwanted $3.00 ATM fee from the neighboring gas station. 

Brunch served Wed.-Mon. 7:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Jam is located at 937 N. Damen Ave. in the East Village of Chicago. See the menu here.

— Carly Fisher

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    jennifer said,

    i am seriously in love.
    the french toast was so good- but it was the pork cheeks that really got me.
    new favorite place.
    xo


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