Jack's Wife Freda
Ladies who brunch, pay close attention. We are about to present to you a brand new spot for your [perfect_for slug="chronic-brunch"]Chronic Brunch[/perfect_for] rotation, and one that's gonna make you look like the coolest person in your group, or pack, or whatever it's called when more than three of you gather.
Jack's Wife Freda is a simple, cute little café in Soho, opened by a couple that met while working at Balthazar. That's really probably all we need to tell you. If "cute," "Soho," and "Balthazar," aren't the three most important Chronic Brunch keywords, we don't know what are. The food here is an interesting collection of culturally specific dishes from different parts of the world, many of which will be familiar to those who know Middle Eastern or Israeli cooking. What that means is that the menu is very unique, but it's somehow not at all intimidating. Things like green shakshuka (baked eggs in a spiced sauce) might sound adventurous and strange to many, but when presented at Jack's Wife Freda, it's very appealing. Maybe that's because the menu is hand drawn, with little doodles all over it. The doodles are meant to soothe you.
Add all of those things up and throw in a few of their mimosas with fresh cantaloupe juice, and you've got a pretty great spot for your next girls' day out. Unfortunately, that's about as far as our recommendation will go. When it comes to dinner, Jack's Wife Freda is a bit less appealing. The room loses some of it's charm when the sun goes down, and much of the dinner menu is a snooze. We'd be a bit more enthusiastic if things were a little cheaper, but there too many options for a better dinner for the same price nearby. Stick to the daylight hours, and you and your girlfriends should walk away happy.
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Freshly Baked Assorted Pastries
I fcking love pastries. I want a t-shirt that says that, and then I'm gonna buy a motorcycle and learn karate. Nobody would mess with me, ever. Get the corn muffin and the apple turnover.
Unless you've got some family roots in a country near the Mediterranean, you probably aren't too familiar with rose water in your food. The Lebanese use it a lot, which is probably why this waffle is also topped with some Lebanese yogurt. My grandma would love this.
Shakshuka is apparently what the green, pungently spiced sauce is called that these eggs are baked in. It's also apparently a popular dish in Israel and North Africa. We liked it, but it's probably not for everyone. At least you just learned something.
Poached Eggs with Grilled Tomato and Haloumi
More learning - haloumi is a salty, slightly rubbery cheese found in lots of Middle Eastern cuisine. It's often grilled because it holds up to the heat and won't melt, and would also probably taste awful if it wasn't. Here it adds a nice saltiness and a different texture to the poached eggs. It's really good, but this is probably best left for those who already know what the stuff is.
Freda's Matzo Ball Soup
It's green, flavorful, very dill-heavy, and the soup is a little thin, but the big fluffy matzo ball is spot on. Definitely worth ordering.
And out of left field comes some Portuguese cuisine, in the form of a small skirt steak sandwich with garlic butter on it. Bang up job, Portugal. This one can be skipped.
Freda's Fried Fish Balls
People seem to talk about these fried fish balls a lot, but we honestly don't get it. Maybe there's a nostalgia thing that we're missing here, but to us these just taste like fishy hush puppies.
A Greek salad that's made with kale and has pickled red onion, salted olives, and a huge block of feta cheese in the middle. This wins for our favorite dish on the menu. Do not pass this by.
Bloody Mary Moules Frites
If the Greek salad wins favorite dish, then these bloody mary mussels are the runner up. I don't know what we need to say other than that they are as good as you would hope them to be after reading the description. The fries ain't bad neither.
Vegetable Curry Bowl
This should also be high on your list of eligible dinner things to eat. There's some nice curry flavor in what appear to be stewed vegetables over cous cous, and we enjoyed eating this on a cold night recently. The only downside is that it becomes a little monotonous after a while. Order it and share.
Can't go wrong if you're the kind of person who goes right for the whole fish on a menu. We aren't, but we ordered this anyway and were pleasantly satisfied
- although I can't for the life of me remember what kind of fish it was. I can usually tell by looking it directly in the eye, but it was probably too dark in there.