Published in Ottawa Magazine, May 28, 2012
The view of Bronson Avenue from Jak’s Kitchen was never what you’d call remarkable, but now even the sky is obliterated by a small legion of sunny demolition trucks and a hill of rubble. To be precise, my immediate view is of safety fencing curtaining pedestrian traffic.
I used to walk by Jak’s pretty regularly — during a kids-hockey phase — and the obvious bread baking going on was an aromatic advertisement for its well-known brunch. Lately, the scent of yeast competes with diesel.
But out of the rubble Jak’s has produced genius in the form of a nifty idea called a “Jak in a Box.” (Ottawa Magazine food editor Shawna Wagman introduced us to it in her City Bites column.) It’s a never-say-die initiative that embraces the misfortune of months of major roadwork. Its philosophy: rather than curse these guys in trucks, let’s feed them! The way to a man’s heart, as they say…
I lunched at Jak’s the day before the boxed-lunches were launching and chit-chat amongst the staff was of filling these with a sandwich, either a salad or some fries and a dessert, and pricing it to sell. Entrepreneurship at its finest. I hope they make buckets.
But I was lunching off the menu. And if you’d rather sit in and eat off a plate I can recommend unequivocally, the burger. Just look at the thing. Can you imagine anything more appealing than that? Well and truly roasted red peppers, fresh basil, a mound of zephyr light fromage blanc and, beneath the lightly packed, well seasoned meat, a paprika aioli with a smoky finish. All of this on a house made bun, slightly grilled, topped with lettuce and a ripe enough tomato. Comes with a dandy salad and a terrific bowl of the day’s soup — on this day a chorizo, potato, and parmesan chowder that was lunch all on its own. The whole deal reeked of an enormously satisfying manly lunch. Put THAT in a box, boys and girls.
Cost: cuppa chowder and burger $14
Open: Tuesday to Sunday for breakfast/brunch/lunch and dinner
Jak’s Kitchen, 479 Bronson Ave., 613-230-2088.