Jackson 20, just blocks off the water in Old Town Alexandria serves modern American cuisine. The Sports Freak and I decided to go there before the Maryland Duke Game last night. We chose Jackson 20 because they were offering extended Restaurant Week thorugh the end of the month.
Located inside the Hotel Monaco, the restaurant was very loud, even though it was not yet packed. The lighting was very dim to the point that the weather reports may have issued a visability warning in the establishment. While I did not measure, I felt that the chairs were a bit higher than at most places. Not like barstools, but higher than your normal dining chair. It's these little things that restaurants need to pay attention to to keep and gain more customers.
The food fared better. The RW menu here was advertised as off the regular menu. Except they did not note that the two steak entrees would incur a $10 upcharge. Our server did mention that to us. The appetizers were hits and misses. TSF had the scallops. He noted they were good, but didn't elborate. I had the Jumbo Lump Crab Cake. That was very good, with little binder if any. It was flaky and moist. The seasonal slaw that was with it was less successful. Some of the vegatables were soaking in the vinegar a little too long and created a pickling effect. If that was the intent of it, I would say the chef needs to rethink that.
For our entrees, TSF had the sirlion and I ordered the buttermilk fried chicken. The sirlion was huge. Again, TSF reported it was good, but it was a little rarer than he prefers. My chicken was excellent. It was a skinless chicken breast breaded lightly and fried to be crispy outside, but moist inside. It was served on a bed of kale with a side of whipped sweet potatoes. I am not a sweet potatoe fan, but the whip was pretty good. It was not too sweet, which is usually my fear of these dishes. To give some "home comfort", it had a toasted marshmallow on top. The kale was a bit bitter. I'm not sure how to put it, but it did not seem to work out right. I think it might have worked better in soup than as a side to the meal. Our major disapointment with the entrees is that it took nearly half an hour after we finished our appetizers for the entrees to be served to us. But they were still hot, so it was not that it was sitting out there waiting to be served to us.
Dessert was probably the biggest issue. We both ordered the cranberry bread pudding with a scoop of ice cream. The ice cream was smooth and creamy, but TSF has this thing about ice cream. He says his close friends "know algebra and do not eat ice cream in the winter". More on that story will be provided another day. However, we made an exception because it's Restaurant Week. Ice cream was not the problem. The bread pudding was. It was nicely put together and flavorful. But "The ginormous bread pudding...a single bachelor sitting on the couch with a big plate full of bread pudding sitting atop his belly with a big glass of milk." I put it in this perspective. You get home after a long day at work and don't feel like cooking. There are four portions of bread pudding left in your fridge and you decide to have them for dinner. I should have gotten a picture of it, but take your standard size building brick and split it slightly uneven in two parts. The bigger "half" is what we got..each.
While Jackson 20 has good meals, the regular pricing seems a bit high. I won't go out of my way to go back there, but if I'm in the neighborhood, I would not have a problem stopping in for one plate.