All words: Brittany Martin
All photos: Franz Mahr
J&G Steakhouse, inside the W Hotel, may be nestled at the bustling corner of Tourist Street and Office Worker Lane – but they have managed to create a relaxed and inviting patio space for leisurely outdoor lunches, dinners, and drinks. The secret to their new-for-2012 redesign and expansion of the patio is some very strategic shrubbery which dissuades those who would spy on diners as they pop the addictive truffle-cheese-jalapeño croquettes into their mouths by the mini-cast-iron-skillet-full – while still allowing for some prime people watching.
Those croquettes – hot and gooey, with just a nice touch of spice and topped with a lime-infused finishing salt – are a signature dish at J&G and, while technically not on the patio menu at lunchtime, the sweet and obliging staff are willing to whip up a batch upon request. The lunch menu generally focuses on lighter fare than one might expect from someplace with “steakhouse” in the name – though a variety of steaks, lobsters, and such are available if that is what you fancy. Otherwise, the fare skews toward seafood, burgers, sandwiches, and salads. A $19 Express Lunch option includes one’s choice of two dishes from a selection – and they guarantee you will get back to your office before anybody notices your “meeting” ran long.
The salads, perfect for warm, sunny days, are particularly good. An entree-sized shrimp salad with bright tender greens and unctuous avocado is topped with a Champagne dressing and decadent butter-cooked shrimp that taste quite a lot like lobster at a smaller price. From the sandwich selections, the crabcake is a winner and even the grilled portobello is well-considered, topped with arugula and parmesan, and avoids the trap of the after-thought vegetarian entree option.
Special patio drinks are featured – from the herbaceous and sweet non-alcoholic sparkling thyme lemonade to ginger margaritas available by the pitcher. Should sipping on that pitcher last you past lunch, the patio switches over to an afternoon lounge menu from 2:30 to 5pm, with a more limited selection of snacks to accompany/justify your classy outdoor day drinking (including burgers, caesar salads, salted caramel ice cream sundaes topped with peanuts and popcorn). The full dinner menu becomes available again at 5:00.
Everything at J&G is beautifully presented and the light touch of Asian influence keeps the food fresh and modern without being over the top. Combine that with a relaxed but elegant outdoor space and you have a perfect summer afternoon destination.