By Dane Feldman
Photos by Dane Feldman.
Jack’s Wife Freda has two locations in New York City. The original is in SoHo on Lafayette Street, while the newer restaurant is on Carmine Street in the West Village. This review focuses specifically on the Carmine Street location, which first opened in December 2014.
I can’t quite pinpoint when or how I learned of Jack’s Wife Freda, but I can say with absolute certainty that the moment I skimmed the menu and viewed (read: stalked) their Instagram page (it boasts 49,000 followers for the two small restaurants), I was in love. You may be wondering, “Can someone really be in love with a restaurant?” Well, here on Dish + Drink, the answer is a resounding yes.
Love at first sight is a dangerous emotion even when it comes to food. I was head over heels for months, liking every photo of theirs that popped up in my newsfeed, discussing it obsessively with two friends who were just as intrigued as I.
Finally, this all culminated in a visit to the Carmine Street spot last Friday morning when I and one other took our salivating selves to brunch.
Where do I begin? Jack’s Wife Freda’s menu is a combination of Meditteranean and American. It seems it is rooted largely in Jewish American culture as well as Israeli culture with items like green shakshuka served with challah toast for breakfast and brunch and spiced rack of lamb for dinner served with Israeli couscous.
Jack’s Wife Freda also offers matzo ball soup and grilled haloumi.
In typical brunching fashion, though, I went for eggs benedict. Only, at Jack’s Wife Freda, the poached eggs come served over potato latkes and smoked salmon with a beet hollandaise. I’d be lying if I said that this wasn’t the best dish I’ve had in 2015. Seriously, I will have quite the difficult time choosing something else to eat the next time I go.
I wound up actually splitting this dish with my cohort along with the Madame Freda: pressed sandwich with duck prosciutto, cheddar bechamel and gruyere, topped with a sunny side up egg. You sure you read that right? Yes. You did. Duck. Prosciutto. Run, don’t walk, to Jack’s Wife.
Shockingly, I didn’t drink during brunch this time. The restaurant offers a handful of wines by the glass and carafe for breakfast and brunch along with four beers and four cocktails including a cantaloupe mimosa.
Patrons can also enjoy coffee, tea, mint lemonade, or fresh cantaloupe juice. I opted for the bottomless drip coffee (unlimited Stumptown for $3!) and was plenty satisfied.
The service here is fantastic. The wait staff is quite friendly, attentive, and knowledgeable. The food presentations are astounding.
The interior is beautiful: big lamps line the ceiling, long and comfortable black leather benches run around the perimeter of the restaurant, and bright floors and art come together to create a laid back and pleasant environment.
All in all, Jack’s Wife Freda completely lived up to the hype for me. I was pleased with every aspect of the experience and would certainly return in a heartbeat–if not for the beet hollandaise, then for a taste of Freda’s matzo ball soup.