The first course consisted of shrimp and spinach dumpling with smoked tomato seafood nage, paired with a Dark & Bloody Mary. The Bloody Mary, I was pleased to learn, did not come from a bottle; it consisted of Campbell’s tomato juice, smoked paprika, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and Jim Beam (dark label). It wasn’t quite as spicy as I normally prefer my Bloody Marys, but any more spice would probably have disguised the bourbon. Instead, the slight sweetness and wood notes of the bourbon blended nicely with the tomato and lemon.
The dumplings were delicious - crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside, garnished with small greens and sitting in a pool of red sauce. They helped to quite pleasantly accentuate the lemon and acidity of the Bloody Mary.
For the salad course, we consumed a field mix, topped with cherries, pumpkin seeds, and a thin slice of manchego cheese, all of which was tossed in an apple cider vinaigrette. The application of the vinaigrette was minimal, which allowed the salad to mostly speak for itself. The addition of pumpkin seeds was a particularly brilliant touch, as the nutty flavor and crunch factor formed a nice contrast from the rest of the salad.
The accompanying cocktail was called the Cherry Bounce. Ms. Perrine introduced it as a classic cocktail, but this was her own personal interpretation of it. It consisted of Red Stag white label bourbon, Kentucky Orchard cherry wine, and cherry bitters. While tasty, this cocktail was just a tad overly sweet for my tastes; I am not generally a fan of confectionary-sweet beverages.
Main course was prime beef filet, served atop a bed of apple and almond risotto. The risotto was wonderfully creamy and slightly sweet, and the beef had been cooked to a perfect medium-rare, so tender that it, to borrow a cliché, “practically melted in your mouth.” This came paired with a cocktail called the Jersey Devil’s Cut, a take on the Cosmopolitan using, naturally, bourbon instead of vodka. Thus, it included cranberry juice, lime, brown sugar, and triple sec. It was quite citrusy, which balanced nicely against the natural sweetness of the bourbon. (Despite being a heterosexual male, I really enjoy a good Cosmopolitan, and since I much prefer bourbon to vodka, this was quite a treat for me.)
Dessert was a fancy take on a childhood classic: pumpkin marshmallow s’mores with chocolate and caramel. Much food had been consumed by that point, so my bulging belly wasn’t even able to finish it, but it was absolutely divine. One of our tablemates was heard to exclaim, “Good golly gussy!” in response. The s’mores came with pumpkin spice eggnog, a holiday favorite which was thick and smooth and delicious.
The dinner was fantastic, and I can’t wait to return sometime soon for a more casual meal, or to relax in Jack’s Lounge with a glass of bourbon. We left feeling stuffed, both with food and with knowledge about bourbon.
Equus & Jack’s Lounge is located at 122 Sears Avenue.
Heading photo courtesy of Equus & Jack’s Lounge Facebook Page.
All other photos: Erin Day