I recently had the opportunity to visit Jack’s Miami, a new home-style Italian restaurant just outside of Wynwood, that will soon become a staple to the area. We were welcomed by Jack’s friendly staff and manager, Alan, who immediately helped us feel at home – which is remarkably easy to do in a restaurant that is actually set up in a house. Our server was friendly and funny, and even the family at the table next to us struck up conversation, contributing to the upscale but homey atmosphere at Jack’s. They were quick to pour the wine and crack a joke, giving the place a spirit so uplifting that there’s no way to not enjoy yourself – and then they brought out the food.
As an appetizer they brought out their eggplant rollatini, which was thin slices of lightly fried eggplant rolled and stuffed with ricotta cheese, topped with mozzarella in a rich marinara sauce. The high quality and freshness of the ingredients was clear, and this was by far my favorite dish of the meal. The marinara was a standout – chunks of sweet tomato added texture to the warm sauce, which truly felt and tasted homemade.
San Gennaro Sausage & Peppers
Our next dish consisted of generous cuts of Italian sausage topped with sautéed bell peppers and onions, served with buttered and grilled sourdough bread. I’m not usually a fan of the strong fennel taste in Italian sausage, but I didn’t hesitate to eat the last piece as I couldn’t let a bite go to waste. The onions and peppers tossed with Jack’s signature marinara made a flavorful topping to the bread, which was already delicious on its own in its simplicity.
Nonna’s Homemade Meatballs
These beef meatballs in Jack’s delicious homemade marinara, with a generous helping of ricotta, were an instant classic. Once again the freshness of the ingredients was a standout, with everything playing well together while still tasting amazing on its own.
Homemade Garlic Bread
Jack’s red-sauce theme was obvious throughout the meal (but you’ll hear no complaints from me). Their cheesy homemade garlic bread came with Jack’s signature marinara to dip in, which I also used with the plain grilled bread that came with the other dishes. The garlic bread itself was also good enough to eat plain, with the perfect amount of saltiness from the cheese that balanced out the pungent taste of garlic.
The “Jackie O”
The most elegant dish of the night was, like the rest of Jack’s entrees, named for a famous “Jack” – or, in this case, “Jackie.” Sliced garlic sautéed in fragrant olive oil with halved cherry tomatoes and portobello mushrooms made this the simplest dish of the night, and the only one that didn’t have a marinara base. In hindsight, I wish I had tossed the pasta in the oil before digging in, since most of it had sunk to the bottom. But all the same, the fresh and simple ingredients complimented each other perfectly and made a well-rounded and delicious meal.
Pistachio Chocolate Cake
By dessert, the sun had set and the string lights across the trellis and over our heads gave the restaurant a romantic glow. The wonderful people at Jack’s recommended their chocolate pistachio cake, and since they hadn’t failed us yet we prepared for the finale to our incredible meal. This light pistachio cake with a crisp exterior swirled with fudgy chocolate, served with fresh vanilla ice cream, was an unexpectedly perfect way to end the night, and a testament to Jack’s ability to balance simple ingredients together to make an incredible dish.
Jack’s is a total gem, and I will be visiting again. The structure itself stands out: a small house with a terrace amid Edgewater’s towering apartment buildings and industrial atmosphere. For a restaurant that had been open for just seven weeks, they had their act together more than most restaurants that have been open for years, with fast, friendly service and an amiable and engaging staff. The food is even more surprising, dishing out delicious meals that your Italian grandmother could’ve made, but only if she had had a little more technical training. With its beautiful atmosphere and unforgettable food, Jack’s is perfect for any occasion from date night to family dinner.