Jazz - A Louisian Kitchen
So I learned something new today. Apparently Jazz - A Louisiana Kitchen, is a chain restaurant. I knew there was one at the Legends, as well as the one at 1823 W. 39th Street I've always frequented, but apparently, there are five other locations as well, including one in Columbia, one in Omaha, and three in Texas. How did I miss that all this time?
Anyway, the last trip, we went to Jazz about mid-afternoon to avoid the crowd. Having tried the previous weekend, only to be thwarted by a large crowd and a live band, the restaurant was sparsely populated, all the better for us.
Strangely enough, as we were being seated, the hostess for some reason had led us in a circle, before leading us to our table along the wall. Not sure what that was all about...
The walls one of the most interesting things at Jazz, being entirely covered in graffiti, a la the original D'Bronx location.
While you're waiting said graffiti is quite entertaining, with interesting tags like "Christy is hung over. So is Dan. Happy Sunday."
Of course, you don't want to get too distracted. The menu is huge and bread with a spiced butter usually arrive while you're deciding.
With a menu offering so many choices, it's got to be difficult for the cooks to remember how everything is prepared. Unfortunately, this means while some items are fantastic, some are just mediocre. While I like the food at Jazz on the whole, they've definitely dropped the ball on a few items.
However, the seafood gumbo, which we started with, is not one of them.
I LOVE seafood gumbo. Spicy broth with pieces of crawdad, white fish, shrimp, celery and pepper, my only issue with this was that I only got a cup, when I clearly should have gone for the bowl. One of my co-workers who was born-and-raised in Louisiana, swears that Jazz has the only authentic gumbo he's found since moving to Kansas City.
The fried oysters, on the other hand, were disappointing. With visions of the sauteed oysters from Tatsu's swimming in my head, I was not pleased with the heavily battered and deep fried things placed in front of me. With the consistency of a box of gizzards from Go, Chicken Go, the only flavor they had was from the breading and the oil. The oil, apparently isn't changed very often, because it lent the oysters a burnt shrimp flavor. Served with Cajun coleslaw, whatever that is, and a trio of overcooked, dried-out hush puppies, this is not an entree I'll be repeating.
Natasha opted for the crawfish creole, which was much better, though too spicy for her. Tomatoes, peppers and onions and crawfish, with dirty rice the side is of what this dish comprised. Good melding of flavors, nice texture, and a clearly cajun recipe, I enjoyed it thoroughly. She, on the other hand, downed her drink and grabbed my beer to calm the burning. Good stuff, really.
Aside from the oysters, our entire experience was pleasurable, though our server could have been more attentive. However, as it was around three o'clock in the afternoon, I can't blame him. Having worked in restaurants, I'm fully aware of the screwing around in the kitchen and excessive smoke breaks that afternoon waiting entails.
Additionally, prices are higher than your average casual-dining restaurant, around $13-15 for most entrees, but generally worth it.
Overall, I like Jazz, but like I mentioned, while sometimes they hit a homerun, other times they strike out. In addition to the gumbo, I'm also particularly fond of their Po'boys, all of which are delicious. I'll definitely continue to patronize this restaurant, but I wish they'd trim their menu and eliminate the duds.
Food: 3.2 (minus points for inconsistency)