Saturday, March 8, 2014

Restaurant Review: Jack & Nellie's

Readers of the blog will recall a few weeks ago I posted about a nice email I received from the owner of Jack & Nellie's restaurant, on Ascan Ave., informing me of recent changes to his menu.

Here's what he had written:
"While we still have many of our crowd favorite small plates (i.e: Mac & cheese with chorizo, lamb meatballs, garlic & artichoke dip, sliders...) we have extended it to entrĂ©e size platters such as Grilled Hanger Steak (served with chimichurri sauce and potato wedges), Grilled Salmon (over succotash), Jack & Nellie's Burger (served with fries), Kale Cesar Salad (served with or without grilled chicken), Vegetable Risotto, to name a few. Our chef has also been coming up with tasty specials each night (usually 2 or 3) and our brunch (every Sat & Sun) not only has a dedicated following, but we also offer live jazz to enhance the experience. Even though we are not taking reservations for brunch, we are thrilled to see returning customers each weekend, and look forward to seeing new ones as well. I am happy to report that the feedback from our customers (from far and away) has been positive and we hope to continue being a pillar of the Forest Hills community."

I had eaten at Jack & Nellie's after it first opened a couple of years ago and while I really liked what I had, at the time it was all small plates. As I've said before, perhaps that's fine for other New York City neighborhoods where there are a zillion dining choices, but here in Forest Hills we're still restaurant-challenged. No doubt, some awesome places have opened in the past few years, but I think we could use another five or so great places to get a tasty meal before FoHi will have begun to join other NYC neighborhoods in the standard level of dining options. Our pickings have been especially slim when it comes to your traditional American cuisine - just a casual neighborhood place to grab a quality sandwich, steak or burger, without it having to cost you an arm or a leg. Again, something many NYC nabes take for granted.

So, I am very happy to write that Jack & Nellie's—with its newly expanded menu—joins other recently-opened places like Banter and Bonfire Grill in filling this much-needed gap Forest Hills has had in its restaurant options. I recently tried their grilled chicken sandwich ($12)—excellent—and Seared Salmon Over Succotash ($17)—also excellent. To start, I had the lamb meatballs as an appetizer ($9), which were just exceptional.  Dessert included slices of Apple Caramel and Chocolate Fudge cakes. Both really good for $7 each. I also loved the way they served their coffee at the end of the meal, French Press style, delicious and a good price at only $4.

I also really liked the atmosphere. I went during an off-hour though, early Sunday evening, when it was probably a lot more quiet than you're likely to find on a Friday or Saturday night. The laid back feel of the place at that time was just great—I felt like I was in the perfect local neighborhood eatery New York City is known for. At the time, they were also having a Happy Hour, so I was able to have a really nice craft beer with my dinner for just $4. Can't beat that.

So Jack & Nellie's is the whole package—delicious food, nice ambience, reasonable prices. What's not to like? Give it a try if you haven't already. It's also in a refreshingly quiet part of town, just off of Austin St. on Ascan Ave.


  1. I have yet to go here because they don't post their menu online.. I wish they did because every time it's like oh forget it maybe they won't have something I like.

  2. Agree that Jack and Nellie's is great and have heard good things about Banter. Bonfire should not be included in this list. The food is beyond subpar.

  3. We live a half block away from Jack & Nellie's. We don't come that often but we always are treated well by the owner and the wait staff. Food is excellent, beer selection is just beyond and wines are also sophisticated. I'd much rather go here than any of the other noisy gastropubs, which have ridiculously unhealthy food on their menus. J&N now has live jazz music during weekend brunch. Two thumbs up.

  4. Went to Jack & Nellie's a couple of years ago. It was okay. I found their dishes to be overly garlicky. Maybe it was a bad night or just what I ordered.

    Willing to try again, especially with the expanded menu. I just wish they had Moscato on the wine menu!

  5. It's one of our favorite spots on a Friday or Saturday night. Good food/ambiance, friendly staff.
    Next up? We'll try the weekend brunch. Live jazz is a huge plus here in FH.

  6. A few questions: is the salmon they serve wild Alaskan, or farmed? And is their weekend brunch prix fixed? If so, how much is it, and what cocktails are included?

  7. Their lamb meatballs and kale Caesar salad is a perfect meal!

  8. How are people saying they went to Jack & Nellie's "a couple of years ago," when the place hasn't even been open for "a couple of years. They opened in September of 2012 - not that long ago, guys!

  9. Nothing beats Keuka Kafe on Queens Blvd as a wine bar with food.