The first time, I went to Jackson 20 in Alexandria, VA, in April this year, all I kept thinking was “Why did I take this long to come here?!” The service was great, the food was even greater and the drinks seemed to be the greatest I had had in a long time. This all sounds glorious right? Well, that first time it truly was. So much so that my husband fell in love with the place and begged me to leave our Memorial weekend getaway in Richmond, VA (earlier than we had planned) to head to Alexandria, VA just so he could take in some of Jackson’s 20 food and drinks. That second time was, what I’m convinced to be (and if I have my way, WILL BE), our last visit there.
Before I delve into our last visit there, I’ll continue to sing praises about the first time. I hould mention that Jackson 20 is the Monaco Alexandria’s (Kimpton hotel) restaurant. If you remember my husband’s birthday weekend post, you’ll know how much I love Kimpton hotels. Side Note: This past Friday I was in the Sofitel NY and I texted my hubby to say “This is no Kimpton” (Sofitel was my favorite before Kimpton hotels replaced it). I worship the ground Kimpton hotels are built on – it’s that serious. So anyways, as much as my PIC and I eat out, we were taken aback by the fact that even at our last stay at Hotel Monaco, we didn’t go downstairs to eat at Jackson 20 and were more surprised when we came to the realization that once a month, for the past year or so, we al frequent that very neighborhood and had never made it to Jackson 20. *sigh*
We finally made it to this restaurant in Old Town (as the neighborhood is affectionately called). The entire street captures that old world, colonial vibe that is both quaint and exciting. At Jackson 20, we were promptly greeted by our host Steve. We were seated and given a brunch menu and a Mimosa menu (it was a Saturday at 11 30am). I ordered a “Pear-fect Timing” (Champagne, Grey Goose La Poire, Pear Nectar, Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice – $10). My PIc had the “Tango” (Champagne, Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice, and Mango Purée – $8). They both were very delicious and refreshing. Although, I think mine was way better.
Then time came to order food. We played around with the idea of having traditional breakfast food (bacon, eggs, pancakes etc) but I reminded hubby that those are things I could easily do at home. I encouraged him to get something a little more complex. Haha. He went with “J20 Burger” (Description: Ground Beef Chuck Burger, Bacon, American Cheese, LTO, BBQ Aioli, Apple Cider Coleslaw and Fries – $15)
I had the Panzanella Sandwich (Description: Heirloom Tomatoes, Cucumber, Basil, Mozzarella, Red Onion on Grilled Ciabatta – $12) I opted for grilled chicken to go on my sandwich so this made the sandwich $15
During our meal, Steve continued to check on us and made us feel right at home. So because of that, PIC and I decided to hang out a little longer and we ordered another cocktail while we finished up our meal. This time he had one of the BEST drinks ever made – The Virginia Gentleman (Gentleman Jack, American Honey Liqueur, Bitters and Lemon Juice, finished with Ginger Beer – $12) That drink is seriously good. Not too strong, not too sweet, just refreshing, well blended and extremely delicious.
I had the Raspberry Mule (Grey Goose Vodka, Fresh Raspberries muddled with Bee Buzzed Honey topped with Ginger Beer – $12). It was ok. I must admit my PIC’s second drink was wayyyyy better than mine.
I was truly pleased with everything at Jackson 20 that April day and would have recommended it to every and anybody I came across!
Fast forward to Memorial Day (Monday). My PIC had been hounding me to visit Jackson 20 that day so instead of leaving Richmond, VA around 4 as planned, we left at 1pm. We arrived at Jackson 20 around 3pm and were not greeted. We lingered at the door for a while watching and waiting for someone to come rescue us from the discomfort we were starting to feel. At long last, a busboy came up to us and told us that only the bar menu was available that day so we could go to the bar if we liked. Fine. To the bar we went. I’m not even going to go into the long story but the drinks were weak, the food was mediocre at best even the same J20 burger my PIC had had a month before. At a point, I felt as if my business wasn’t neither appreciated or wanted. Before I give you the best (read:worst) part, I’ll give you the drinks and food.
Here’s the line up. I had the “Alexandria Red” (PAMA Pomegranate Liquor, Square One Organic Vodka, Fresh Lime, Bee Buzzed Honey – $12)
My PIC had “Old Hickory” (Russell’s Reserve Rye, Limoncello, Absinthe, Bitters, fresh squeezed Lime – $13)
We had already decided that this was our “Date Night/Day” so we were prepared to just hang out and relax. After drink number 1, we had drink # 2. With my drink I asked for an extra shot of Myer’s Rum and PIC had an extra shot of vodka
I called for a Mai Tai (ugliest one I’ve seen thus far)
PIC had the “Socialite” because he loved how it sounded (Grey Goose La Poire Vodka, Amaretto, Pineapple and Cranberry Juice, and a fresh Pear Slice)
After these cocktails, naturally we began to get peckish. My PIC ordered a J20 burger because he really enjoyed it the last time we were there. I ordered BBQ Pork Ribs – $16
Here’s the highlight. Our bill came up to $99.16 and we signed for that amount only (debit card) and paid $15 in cash for the bartender’s tip. When I got home about an hour later, I checked my bank account (as I do daily), only to see that Jackson 20 charged me a grand $118. I called the restaurant to ask why was I charged that amount especially since I only signed for $99.16 and left a cash tip. The manager proceeded to tell me that MY bank (HA!) places a 20% gratuity hold on all (Jackson 20) credit card payments. My bank placed a 20% gratuity hold? Really? He assured me that I will only be charge $99.16 though (which in the end (two days later) was the case) but that story about my bank putting a 20% gratuity hold on the bill was just angering and annoying.
If you ever want to try it out, you can find it @ 480 King Street. Alexandria, VA 22314. Be fairly warned that good service is sometimes a hit or miss as you’ll learn if you do a Google search for reviews of Jackson 20.
Bye For Now…..