Thursday, January 3, 2013

Jones: Takeout Review

This is for a series of posts for Stephen Starr restaurants including:

Ever get tired of the same old take out? Gummy pizza? Run-of-the-mill Chinese food? We've all been there. Whether you're using GrubHub, Seamless, or Living Social, the options are pretty similar. This is where Dining In comes in - we're talking about premier restaurants. Restaurants, mind you! The Buddakan's, the Meritage's, the Sabrina's - these are places that you never would have thought delivered. Granted the menu is limited - but the majority of the popular items are there!

Of course - this all comes at a price - $5.99 as a delivery fee to be precise. High-priced to be sure, but considering most other places do charge a few dollars for delivery, it's not that bad. The way I understand it - it's essentially a delivery service that picks up the food from these established restaurants and brings you the food ASAP. They even have a rewards program. Every dollar spent on food and beverage equates to a Dining In point! At 100 points, you get $5 off an order and at 500 points, you get free delivery from there on out! Monthly drawings to earn points, gift cards, and other freebies - it's a pretty solid customer rewards program.

Use this link to order delivery and you'll get 25 points to start off with as well (Dining In Coupon)

In any case - this time around, the GF and I ordered from Jones, another one of Stephen Starr's many establishments. An Americana themed restaurant - you've got comfort staples familiar to many - Mac n Cheese, Fried Chicken, and Grilled Cheese. They just do it on a whole other level.

Cheese "Hold the Beef" Burger ($11)
Halloumi cheese marinated and grilled served on a brioche bun with lettuce, tomato, avocado and lemon aioli

On Dining In, this 'burger' is actually 50 cents cheaper than in the restaurant - score! Halloumi is a Middle Eastern-Greek cheese that is semi-hard and brined. It's typically made from a mixture of goat's and sheep's milk. It has a high melting point and thus - Jones was able to achieve a nice grilled texture to the cheese. The grilled cheese had bite to it and worked well with the creamy avocado and buttery, acidic lemon aioli. The fries were thin and well seasoned, though I think during the time it took to get the dish delivered - they became a little limp.

Grilled Chicken Sandwich ($10) 
Roasted tomatoes, baby arugula, basil aioli & fries

The first thing I noticed was the bread - it was nice and pliant - deliciously yeasty. However, the chicken was a bit chewy - somewhat disappointing. The roasted tomatoes had a nice acidity to it though. And the baby arugula's bitterness and the freshness of the basil aioli helped to prevent this chicken sandwich from boring. These also came with fries. Oh and guess what - 50 cents cheaper for this dish as well!

Baked Macaroni & Cheese ($8)

Now - the real star of the show was the baked Mac n Cheese. For something so simple - Jones gets it right. Perfectly al dente macaroni pasta with a creamy, salty cheese interspersed throughout. The crunch on top was the perfect crust - a nice textural component to the dish. And yes - this was 50 cents cheaper on Dining In as well.

Overall, Jones delivered for what could have easily been a mundane meal. Delivery was estimated at an hour and actually took only 30-40 minutes. A burger that wasn't exactly a burger - was not exactly a grilled cheese. A simple, yet perfect Mac n Cheese. At this rate - I'm excited to see what else Dining In has to offer ...

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