Monday, January 22, 2018

Jilly's


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1630 Gravois Rd.
High Ridge, Mo.

We’ve been pretty tough on Jilly’s over the years. Our first critique in 2009, was one of the first places we reviewed. So how much has changed in the past nine years? We’ll see. (See list of previous reviews below)
My chief criticism, unfortunately, has always been for the lackluster quality of the food. Jilly’s was not, even in 2009, a low price option. Back then we dropped over seventy dollars; this visit was also at that price, but for two meals rather than three and without an appetizer. 
In my mind it is not too much to expect a pretty good meal for that price range. We can get great meals in several places for that price. 
The Place:
Halfway up a hill off of Highway 30 in High Ridge. The parking lot is not intuitive to navigate to, Angel had to turn around and try again.  The blue neon (mercury gas) Jilly’s sign was fully functioning this time.
The crowd seemed light, judging by the parking lot.
Adam was planning to join us this Sunday evening but cancelled due to general puniness.  With all the bugs going around we accepted his excuse without question.
Entering I made two immediate observations. The weird life-size waiter statue was gone, which I considered an improvement, and the music was different. This was not a good thing. In all my reviews I consistently positive about was the old-school blues they played overhead.
Gone. Replaced by saccharine-generic  80’s and 90’s pop. Huey Lewis, Michael Jackson, Darius Rucker. . . the stuff that offends no one, and is already overplayed in office building elevators.  Fortunately it wasn’t very loud. I missed the old blues.
We were seated, no water offered this time.  The young lady managing the tables was prompt with the menus. I kind of like the dining area here, built and frozen in a mid 60’s chic style. The ‘mod’ vinyl booths dark wood paneling and floors harked back to the Rat Pack, or Don Draper days of martinis, slinky evening gowns, high hairdos  and chicken cordon bleu . . .
Sure enough, the menu boasted a classic ‘Beef Wellington’ and a half dozen flavored martinis.
The Food:
We wanted steak. No need for appetizers or menu browsing. Once our tea arrived, we placed our order. Filet, potato, Caesar salad. . .  Angel’s medium, mine medium rare.
No bread and fancy butter ever showed up. In previous visits this had been a tasty bonus. But nope, not this time.
The salads came after a breadless wait. . . classic salty, creamy Caesar.  The lettuce was fresh, the
croutons, crunchy. The long slivers of parmesan looked a bit intimidating to me, but I was raised on that fake powdered stuff. 
I didn’t finish the salad, the saltiness was getting a little overpowering. But you know me and salt. . . However, saltiness has been a frequent gripe about Jilly’s. The mashed potatoes we’d had once were Lot’s wife salty, hardly anything else. We’ve been avoiding them ever since. 
The steaks were listed as having a ‘Cabernet Butter’ sauce. However, the young lady had mentioned crab sauce when we ordered.   I never refuse crab, lobster or shrimp when offered, so yeah. Cabernet is just a wine, sea bugs though, oh baby!
They finally arrived, eight ounces of sizzling, oozing meat covered in a creamy, lumpy sauce. 
The potato got first attention though, both of us carved and slathered butter and sour cream into the cracks and crevices we’d created. Then and only then we  sliced into the steak.
Meat only for the first bite. . . oh man, it sliced like butter!  The done-ness was perfect to order. The second bite, with the thick crab sauce was even better. Sure, it was rich, but wow, this was exceptional!
The potato, well, it was a perfectly baked potato.  But the pinkish slurry created around it from all the butter, sour cream, meat oozings and crab sauce was divine.  
After most of the way through, the richness started to overwhelm both of us. We asked for a box. ‘Night meat’, Angel calls it, her favorite type of late night snack.
Summary:
I can’t tell if Jilly’s, now under new ownership, is completely past its too salty problem. Our order
kind of avoided the issue altogether. 
Seventy bucks with tip, not cheap, at all.  
The good music is gone, the water and bread, gone, that awful waiter statue is (thankfully) gone. . .  everything else is about the same. The place looks exactly like it did in 2009, the menu looks the same. . .
Is that good or bad? I don’t know. I do know this, on this particular evening we ordered and Jilly’s delivered perfectly.


Previous reviews of Jilly's:
2009
2010
2015

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