10 Things about Jimmy’s Place, Forest Park
1. They bake their own bread – good moist rustic Italian, and it makes a huge difference.
2. Fettuccine Alfredo – inedible elsewhere, here the cream is dialed down and Gorgonzola gives it a slightly tangy earthiness; if I must eat Fettuccine Alfredo, let it be here.
3. Limited, focused wine selection – had a bottle of very good Australian last night, 15 bucks, what’s not to like? I don’t know how we started allowing places to charge us eight bucks for a glass of crap, but Jimmy’s has not joined that trend, or any trend as far as I can tell. The most expensive glass of wine is like five bucks a pop; he doesn’t carry a lot and he doesn’t carry high-end, but he gives a good pour, good wine, good price.
4. Braciole, legendary. It’s inconsistent, but I’ve never been disappointed.
5. Jimmy – even if he doesn’t actually recognize me when I walk in, he makes a real effort to simulate recognition as he does with everyone who stops by. It does not seem fake; it seems sincere (maybe he’s just a good actor, but it works).
6. House-made soup. I’m on record for not being a fan of soup, but here the escarole and bean, even the minestrone, is tasty, with each natural flavor popping through, nothing canned about it…plus, as an added bonus, they serve it in little cups so you don’t have to eat a lot.
7. Rapini and beans – paradigmatic simplicity, effortless excellence.
8. Gnocchi – “featherlight” might describe gnocchi elsewhere, but not here, where they’re more like miniature Bohemian dumplings or spaetzle, very chewy, it’s all good.
9. Diversity – I like a place that welcomes family, singles, couples, random derelicts, office parties, singles, dates, across the board. Last night, I saw a lot of young single folks come in and have dinner at the bar, sitting down next to the old guys, chatting it up, nice.
10. Cannoli – I’m not usually a big fan, but when all elements are whipped up in the kitchen…it makes a huge difference.
7411 Madison St
“We all have to stand before the kitchen gods.” Chef Jacob Sahaya Kumar Aruni