The white tablecloth at Jack’s Grill signals a fine dining experience, which isn’t necessarily false, but, on closer inspection, the cloth is actually covered in paper. And beside it? Crayons. Clearly, the haute comfort cuisine is as accessible to families as it is to high rollers.
The menu by chef Ryan Hotchkiss reflects a budding romance between relaxed and gourmet food. A hearty bread pudding ($15) isn’t the sweet dessert you’d expect. In fact, according to Hotchkiss, it’s a starter. And the main ingredient is salmon.
The smoked fish blends well with slightly salty pickled onions, a kick of horseradish aioli, creamy yogurt pearls and fresh dill, making for a uniquely savoury dish.
The Chicken Supreme entree ($35) might also suggest typical English fare, but these meat and potatoes are finished with a crisp rub, and lemon pan jus, and the tender poultry is stuffed with mushrooms and sage. On the side, a risotto cake melts in your mouth with richness.
Likewise, the Pembina pork tenderloin ($35) is stuffed with personality — crushed figs and bacon chunks to be exact. Add a rum-apple reduction and it’s a sweet and savoury delicacy.
But no matter how sweet, no entrée takes the place of a dessert. On the day I dined, the daily crème brûlée was paired with apple pie. It’s like a crayon drawing by Da Vinci, a masterpiece with common ingredients. (5842 111 St, 780-434-1113)