JG Domestic: Jose Garces America
Ever searched for an excuse to venture past the sparkly facade of the Cira Centre as it glints next to 30th Street Station? With the opening of JG Domestic from Jose Garces on the ground floor, that reason has arrived.
The restaurant’s theme is America -- all of the food, beer, wine and most of the spirits are sourced from across the 50 states. Which translates to: good stuff(!) at not-outrageous prices! The interior underwent a full renovation that added warm wood everywhere, a wall of plants, and even trees growing out of communal tables. Add to that a daily four-hour long “Happy Hour,” and a stylish, comfortable bar, and you’ve got a winner on the river.
From 3-7 pm, Monday through Friday, there are a gaggle of beverage and edible specials to be had. Pours of three rotating American beers on tap are $5 each, with the selection currently spanning all tastes: Victory Storm King Stout, Allagash White and Sixpoint Pilsner. For $6 per glass you can select from two white wines and two reds (California and Oregon vintages).
Signature cocktails are named after historic US train routes, and four of them are on the happy hour track for $7 a pop, like the City of New Orleans (née Sazarac) and the Adirondack, a smokey affair with bourbon, mescal, and rosemary agave.
The happy hour eats are a plentiful assortment of snacks and sandwiches. What’s more American than potato chips? $4 brings a stack of kettle-cooked salt & vinegar crisps with a side of malt vinegar aioli. If you’ve got a date or coworker to impress, get the $10 crudité instead, a spread of farm-fresh baby veggies with green goddess dressing and artisan olive oil. On the other end of the scale, the house burger is made from the same custom meat blend as at Garces’ Village Whiskey, and can be yours for $12.
The bartenders and servers are true professionals, providing smooth service for the crowds, which will likely include a mix of train-bound tourists, University City students and Cira Centre office workers stopping to unwind before the commute home. A soft buzz created by the open kitchen mixes with agreeable jazz and blues and creates a genuine (and rather elusive) atmosphere of down home in the big city. It’s Jose Garces’ America, and it’s worth the trip.
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