I had strong reservations about going back to Jack & Lois. Yes this was second attempt at reviewing this Hamilton based restaurant. I popped in with Marie & Vanny in August 2012 for breakfast. It was the second worst breakfast experience I’ve ever had. You can scope out that rage filled rant here. I could have popped off last August but another Food Blogger (My favourite Stella Yu) of whom I hold a lot of respect, advised to take a pass. As she put it, “a restaurant can get years of good reviews and have it all washed away with one bad one.” Six months after my experience, the owner reached out to me to pop into the restaurant and have a look. He was unaware at the time of my poor experience and I relayed what happened. He explained the restaurant was between cooks at the time and my experience would be different. A little research between various review sites confirmed his assertion they were going through a rough patch. I put my return on the back burner until last week when Marie and I had some free time during the lunch hour.
Grilled Cheese – $7
We split this sandwich to start. My biggest draw to order was the Calabrese it was purported to come on. Unfortunately they were out and we settled for Whole Wheat Toast. Jack & Lois uses Aged Cheddar, American, and Asiago Cheese their Grilled Cheese. This was fine but nothing special. I’m convinced that Gorilla Cheese has ruined me on other sandwiches. I was really hoping to see how the Calabrese would go down. I may just make it myself.
The Great One – $9
This was one of the specials for the day. A very thick Veal Cutlet with Roasted Red Peppers, Fresh Greens, and Mango Aioli on a Garlic Cake & Loaf Bun. It’s interesting how the same Protein can have two drastically different impressions. I don’t eat Veal often. I enjoy it but it isn’t my first choice. Marie loves Veal and was psyched up to give this sandwich a try. Her impression was instantly skewed though because the Veal wasn’t hammered thin. For me, I loved the idea of a thick Veal patty. She would have preferred thin and layered. In her exact words “this is NOT a Veal Cutlet.” I guess be forewarned if you’re a Veal Connoisseur? As for the sandwich itself, it was delicious. The Veal was seasoned well and wasn’t over-breaded. The greens were crisp and fresh. I was leery of Mango Aioli but it complimented the greens perfectly. I didn’t care for the Red Peppers as I thought them overcooked and limp. Neither of us were fans of the Cake & Loaf (BUY LOCAL!) Garlic Bun. It was left on the flat top too long and burned. I didn’t care for the consistency of the bread either. Our server let us know that the bun can be subbed out for something else if available. I’d definitely look into that route.
Our orders also came with Jack & Lois unique Coleslaw. Like the Veal Sandwich, Marie and I were split. She enjoyed the Coleslaw, especially for the fact it was topped with chopped peanuts. On the other hand, I found it completely under-dressed, with the peanuts being an odd texture clash.
The John Candy – $11
Let’s get the gripe out of the way. The bun didn’t work for me at all as it was burned. I’m completely willing to disregard it though because this burger was a BEAST! The 8oz Burger was thick, juicy and cooked to Medium Well. I like my Steak rare and Burgers Medium Well (no love for Medium) so this was spot on for me. It was topped with Aged Cheddar, crispy Bacon and two thick cut slices of Peameal. Yeah that’s right, Bacon on Bacon action. I could not have been happier with this choice and would order it again in a second. I don’t typically throw my giant head into my blog posts but I wanted people to see just how huge this burger was. If you’re going to order The John Candy, COME HUNGRY!
While my impression last year was disappointing, this time around was far more positive. I’m not going to hold the Coleslaw against them. It’s complimentary and thus isn’t coming out of pocket. As for the burgers, burned buns aside, they were both huge in size and taste. There’s still a few items on the menu that I’d like to check out and after that quality lunch, I know I’ll be back at Jack & Lois.