Restaurant Review: Jones

Last night I was downtown for a birthday dinner at Stephen Starr’s restaurant at seventh and Chestnut Jones. While the place was full we had a minimal wait time of less than 10 minutes for a party of 10 (eight adults and two children). The layout reminded me of a diner but with an admittedly upscale modern feel to it. Our waiter quickly took a drink order and brought that out. There is a full scale bar at Jones and drinks were reasonable for a center city dining establishment ($6 for a standard mixed drink, $7.5-$9 for a special concoction). We were then given a slightly longer than needed period of time to look over the menu.

The menu once again reminded me of a diner but this time minus the upscale modern feel. I’m not talking about the actual food selection on the menu but the actual menu itself. It was a laminated folding menu that looked like something you would get at The Dining Car in Northeast Philadelphia. The food choices though were another thing. Appetizers from a crab and spinach dip to entrees of pan-seared tuna, Jones had elaborate dishes at a fairly reasonable price (Entrees running from $14 – $22.50).

I myself got pistachio encrusted tilapia over white rice with sautéed spinach in a honey-butter sauce. I am not a fan of Popeye’s strength serum (spinach) so I had that served on the side. The fish was cooked to perfection, tender and flakey and the honey-butter sauce added a nice touch of extra sweetness. The portion of tilapia was large leaving me quite full. We did not get desert, as has become this year’s family custom we brought our own and Jones charges a $2.50 plating fee per person for outside cakes or deserts. This is not just Jones policy but a Starr Restaurant policy and a fair one at that considering desert at Jones would have roughly cost around $3.50-$5.00 per person. The only thing bad I can say about Jones was the coffee was overly bitter and kind of tasted like charcoal, not exactly endearing me to want a second cup.

Total price for our party $217.70 including gratuity. For under $30 you can get a very good meal with nice size portions leaving you feeling happily full. Jones is not as elegant as say Starr’s other restaurants Buddakan or Striped Bass but it is very good downtown dining establishment. If you get a chance to go I think you’ll have a good time.

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