February 10, 2004
The fancy hotels have their master sommeliers, but only Jimmy’s American Restaurant and Bar boasts a tequila connoisseur.
That’s about all you need to know about this restaurant, which has become a local’s favorite. The success is due in large part to the vision of its owner, Jimmy Yeager. Jimmy is brash, at times curt, but he knows how to feed you well and show you a good time.
The bar is always crowded, thanks to what is the best (and most affordable) bar menu in town. A burger smothered in cheese, onions and bacon is priced under $8. Nightly specials, including half a pound of king crab’s legs on Thursdays, cost $12.50.
Jimmy’s offers an adequate wine selection, but it would be foolish not to sample one of the 76 tequilas on offer. Go fancy if that’s your inclination and buy a $60 margarita, but the house margarita won’t disappoint.
Whatever you do, try to corner Jimmy (or one of his disciples) and get him talking about tequilas. It’s an entertaining education. Example: Tequila is the only spirit that has a stimulant ingredient, hence it’s reputation as fighting-sauce or crazy-causing liquid.
Jimmy’s boasts American cuisine and what you get is a homey, unintimidating menu ” there’s nothing here you won’t be able to pronounce. Which is not to say the food isn’t good, just unpretentious.
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Of the starters, the crab cakes has proven the most popular (it’s also a main course). Leaving out many of the binding ingredients that give the dish its shape (the cakes are 98 percent crab), Jimmy goes for brawns over beauty ” the dish comes as a lump but goes down lovely.
If crabs can’t convince you, the baby lamb shops with a honey mint glaze is as delicate as anything off the bone.
An American menu wouldn’t be complete without good ole’ fashioned meat and potatoes, and the Big Rib Eye on the bone is not false advertising (it’s outrageously big). The dish is served with mashed potatoes, vegetables, and a selection of three homemade steak sauces ” traditional, peppercorn, and port-wine glaze. The sauces are good, but not necessarily needed (it’s a tender piece).
The Wasabi crusted tuna is light but filling. Served with a pineapple sauce, the Wasabi interacts to make it almost a sweat and sour flavor.
Jimmy’s is not the place to skip dessert. At the risk of overstepping my bounds: Order the volcano cake, and that’s an order. The Tequila glazed key-lime pie and the New York cheesecake are good, but it’s the Volcano chocolate cake that’s become a local legend.
It’s quite simply the best chocolate pie this reviewer has ever sampled. Like a souffle without the eggs, the cake literally oozes chocolate from its core (hence the name). Served with ice-cream, it’s dark decadence in all its splendor.