I have a new obsession; Jacob’s Pickles. I have been dying to try this new Upper West Side restaurant and finally had an excuse to make my way inside. With one single bite, this new, rustic spot made its way into my culinary thoughts and dreams. Already, I am convinced that this place, opened in December, will become a new staple of Upper West Side cuisine.
Amanda and I entered through the open, inviting doors of Jacob’s Pickles. The hostess’ friendly demeanor made us immediately feel at home. She escorted us past the high energy bar scene towards the back of the restaurant in a more open area, with brick walls and long dark wooden tables.
Our eyes opened wide and mouths began to salivate as we saw dishes being placed in front of others. Large, yet beautiful plates filled with cheese grits in metal tins, cuts of meat the size of our faces, and biscuits sandwiches piled high. Waitresses poured 64 oz. beer containers into the tall glasses of the rowdy patrons. We made our way past all the chaos to a table for two against the exposed brick walls and slightly open window, bringing in a perfect summer breeze. The quick, but eventful trip to our table made our stomachs grumble even more and grins turn to full-fledged smiles. We couldn’t wait to eat.
Our initial plan for having “just dessert,” quickly changed once we looked over the menu. We decided that there was nothing more appropriate then ordering the three things this restaurant lists on their outdoor sign; Beer, Biscuits, and Pickles.
Their selection of at least two dozen American micro-brewed beers became a bit overwhelming, leaving my beverage fate in the hands of our adorable, nice waiter. He had only been in the restaurant for a month, but seemed to already have a great grasp on the beers, food and culture of this restaurant. The beer was delivered in the tall, lean glass. It was delicious and crisp, with the light subtlety of a wheat beer.
We decided it was extremely necessary, being pickle loving people, to order 4 different types of their homemade treats. We went for two types of ‘cukes; dill and special sours, followed by the candy red beets and sweet & spicy carrots. The waiter delivered them in four separate glass Ball jars on a wooden board, specifically made for this purpose. It even had a small hole for the waiter to put his thumb without fear of them falling over. This place really thinks of everything.
The most necessary component to this meal was not boasted in the restaurant name, but rather on the sign. I’m talking about the biscuits; light, fluffy, buttery, melt in your mouth biscuits.
Ripping a piece of this gigantic biscuit and putting it in your mouth makes you feel as if you are in some southern kitchen where a little old grandmother makes heavenly biscuits all day long. They were that good. Amanda and I couldn’t wrap our heads around the light, fluffy nature to the biscuit. It was unlike any biscuit I have tasted.
Inside the simple basket were three little squirt-bottles filled with jam, honey and marmalade. It made for the perfect, less messy addition of these flavors onto the biscuit. I don’t understand why all places don’t serve their sticky sides like this.
I drizzled the strawberry-rhubarb jam on top of the biscuit created the perfect fruity, tart component. Side note: the menu said Strawberry, but it was too tart, Amanda and I determined it had to have been strawberry-rhubarb. The sweet honey, which tasted right from the bee hive rather than a packet, added the perfect subtly to the biscuit. My favorite combination was that of the jam and honey, making tons of bites. Sometimes I would splurge and enhance the creamy component with a little bit of butter contrasted with the orange marmalade. Pieces of orange rind would come out the top of the bottle and onto the biscuit, infusing even more flavor into the fluffy, airy treat. It was delicious.
So of course, after falling in love with a biscuit, it was time for the whole reason for our journey into Jacob’s Pickles, dessert. And the one dessert that had us selecting this restaurant over all others had just been elevated to a new level with our love for the biscuit. Biscuit bread pudding. Oh yeah, they went there.
They brought out a ceramic tin, containing the bread pudding with vanilla ice cream piled high. Immediately, we were the center of attention in the restaurant. Everyone couldn’t stop staring at us, and by us, I mean our dessert.
Holy mother of desserts. My family always pretends to be Food Network Stars at meals by posing the ultimate question, “what would be the best thing you ever ate?” Amanda and I instantly knew, Best Thing I Ever Ate, Desserts: Biscuit Bourbon Bread Pudding, Scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream, Jacob’s Pickles, New York, NY. For those of you that don’t watch that show, watch. This will make more sense. But onto the food.
With our oversized spoons, we dug right through the never-ending scoops of vanilla ice cream to the warm, steaming biscuit turned bread pudding. The first bite had that perfect contrast of warm and cold, playing off each other so perfectly. The dessert was not overly sweet, like so many are. It was tamed, just the right amount of sweetness from the bourbon, raisins and ice cream. The biscuit still retained that fully flavor and buttery texture. It seemed to crumble with each bite, building the flavor profile after each and every scoop. We barely said a word to one another as the entire focus of our every thought and desire was on this most magical dessert.
Slowly, every table began to had a bread pudding, with birthday candles for the table next to us. This dish was truly something special, unique and life changing. The best part of the whole dessert was the bottom liquid that seemed to be soaked up by the biscuit as the ice cream began to melt. The vanilla flavor infused into the biscuit alongside the bourbon and raisins already dwelling at the bottom. Plus, the slight crunch of almond brought everything together. It was perfect.
We didn’t want to leave, but knew we would be back. I would love to try their brunch with a breakfast sandwich on the magical, light as a cloud biscuit. This restaurant has definitely topped my list of Upper West Side staples. Actually, scratch that; it topped my list of not only Manhattanstaples. It was that good. So GO! Run! Try Jacob’s Pickles. You will leave just as happy and all of your friends; text message boxes will be extremely jealous from all of the pictures you sent them over the course of your amazing meal.
Jacob’s Pickles – 509 Amsterdam Avenue – New York, NY
Location: Upper West Side, NY
Perfect For: Big Groups, Chronic Brunch, Drinks
Reservations: Not Available
Favorite Dishes: Bourbon Biscuit Bread Pudding, Assortment of Pickles, Honey Chicken and Pickles