Monday, September 10, 2012

The Jacobson opens on Wednesday

Posted By on Mon, Sep 10, 2012 at 5:06 PM

The craft cocktails at The Jacobson will feature flask service: served in glass flasks for two or four people.
  • The craft cocktails at the Jacobson will feature flask service: served in glass flasks for two or four people.

I say you have to love any restaurant that displays the work of only local artists on its walls. And the Jacobson — no connection to the Michigan-based department store that had a short but glorious run in Johnson County — has some great paintings on its walls, including Larry McAnany's "Atomic Age," along with the flat-screen TV monitors that seem to be the latest version of "artwork" in most restaurants.

The patio at The Jacobson will seat 50 for food and drink service.
  • The patio at the Jacobson will seat 50 for food and drink service.
The full name of this venue is the Jacobson Food + Bar + Patio, but managing partner Michael Werner (Fat City introduced Werner and the unfinished restaurant to Fat City readers last June) is perfectly happy for patrons to simply call it the Jacobson. He does not want to be called a sports bar, however. "I don't know how that story got started," says Werner, who has already weaned his front-of-the-house staff based on the reality that he visualizes the venue as a sophisticated lounge and restaurant. "A couple of our early hires thought they were working in a sports bar," Werber says. "We're going to be projecting a very different attitude."

It's a dining room with a view: of the historic loft apartment buildings surrounding the venue at 2050 Central and a very attractive patio with a fountain feature that utilizes both water and fire. Werner and his partners, including Pat Phelan and the building's owner Michael Edmonson, have really created a silk purse out of a sow's ear with this restaurant.

Back in June, the space was still very raw and bore more resemblence to its previous incarnation (it was the A.D. Jacobson Heating and Plumbing Co. for decades) than the sleek and stylish room that has materialized, seemingly out of nowhere. Wondering exactly where it is? The 4,200-square-foot restaurant occupies the southern half of the same building that is also home to Lulu's Noodle Shop (both restaurants will share some ground parking, but the Jacobson also has access to a covered lot across the street).

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Werner hired Chris Curtis, a University of Kansas graduate who returned from managing restaurants in Colorado, as general manager and John Smith, formerly of the 801 Chophouse, as executive chef. Smith has created a surprisingly elaborate dinner menu, offering both "Mingle" plates — to be shared or "mixed and matched," he says — that feature a United Nations array of culinary styles: crispy salt-and-pepper shrimp, herb-crusted beef carpaccio, a Gallic-influenced charcuterie and cheese platter, a baked macaroni gratin, beef and pork meatballs stuffed with goat cheese and bacon-wrapped fresh oysters.

Smith's dinner entrees will include espresso-spice rubbed country ribs, a buttermilk-marinated Cornish game hen pan-seared then finished in a hot oven, grilled sea scallops tossed, with tomatoes, cucumbers and feta in a chimichurri vinaigrette and three pasta choices — two of them are vegetarian.

"It's pretty during the day," Werner says, standing at the bar (backlit with onyx-style glass), "but at night, this place really comes alive. It's electric!"

The Jacobson's bar manager, Ashley Robinson, has created more than a dozen signature cocktails for the restaurant that can be ordered as traditional drinks or as flask service where a glass flask filled with the requested concoction — for either two or four patrons — is presented in a silvery bowl of ice, along with glasses and ice. Werner is particularly proud of Robinson's "Absinthe Minded" (absinthe, Midori, pineapple "and bubbles") and the Capo, a blend of house-made roasted fennel syrup, Hendrick's gin, Drambuie, cucumber and soda.

Werner says the Jacobson hopes to be serving Sunday brunch before the end of the year. After Wednesday's opening, the Jacbson will serve food from 11 a.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.

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