Babysitter lined up and a Saturday night away
from the kiddos, the big question comes up - Where
should we spend it? My immediate answer is Jakes.
Located on 12th and Alder in downtown Portland,
Jakes is convenient to everyone in the Portland metro
area. Not daring to go without reservations, I called
on Thursday afternoon. Oops - already booked up for
Saturday. We can come in before 5:30 or after 9.
Time to reschedule the babysitter! This is a super
popular Portland spot.
We arrive at our appointed time and are shown
into the back dining room. The historic building,
with a 100 year anniversary already past for this
restaurant, is lined with dark wood paneling and
booths. Tables are covered with starched white
cloths and subtle lighting highlights each table,
offering privacy to the booths lining the room.
The large tables in the center, perfect for big
families or business meetings are lit more brightly.
Immediately, the drink server comes to take a
beverage order. Floating through the dining room
all evening, she let no one go thirsty. Our server
checked to see if we understood the menu or had
questions about it's lengthy fresh items. Since
being taken over by McCormick and Schmick late
last century, the Jakes' menu resembles the others
in the McCormick & Schmick's chain. Fresh seafood
is listed across the top with the particular
preparations offered described down below.
Last night, over 30 fresh seafood items tempted
us. If you go when you're already too hungry, you
can get dizzy reading this menu! My husband usually
scans the salmon dishes first while I'm partial to
shrimp. We both surprised ourselves last night by
ordering dishes new to us.
We started with the heavy crusted sourdough bread
and a field greens salad. The salad was lightly
tossed with a cheesy garlic dressing. The dressing
was subtly applied so that the flavor of the individual
vegetables was still discernable.
Next, the entrees. I received a plate loaded with
dungeoness crab cakes, filled with bay shrimp. They
were accompanied by a creamy jalepeno sauce. I also
had a mix of snap beans, pepper strips and julienned
carrots on the plate next to a creamy mound of garlic
mashed potatoes. I could have resisted temptation and
dug right into my hot veggies. Instead, I forked a
large flaky bite of crab cake and dipped it into the
sauce. Not waiting to see if my husband had started,
I popped that bite into my mouth. Mmmm... Taste buds
danced with delight. I could tell you I heard bells
ring and angels sing but I want to avoid the trip to
the funny farm this week. Suffice it to say, "This
was culinary heaven!"
Time to check in with hubby. After all, I had been
given plenty of crab cakes so that I had enough to eat
with some left over to trade. My husband had a mahi
mahi steak covered in wild mushroom ginger teriaki
sauce that I was going to have to try. Along with
the sliced peppers and lemon flavored rice, it looked
tasty. Sure enough, he was forking it into his mouth
at a quick rate, pausing only as manners required.
When I could finally arrange the trade, I was not
disappointed. The ginger in the sauce was delightful.
Not too heavy, it allowed the mahi mahi flavor to
The desserts are legendary. At $6-8, they're not
inexpensive but many can't resist them. My husband
ordered the flourless chocolate truffle cake. There
is nothing in this dessert but chocolate, chocolate
and more chocolate. Something that looked interesting
to me which I didn't try was the chocolate bag. Made
of chocolate, filled with white chocolate mousse and
fresh berries, I was hoping my hubbie would order this.
Maybe I'll order it next time if I don't stuff in too
many crab cakes!
The service was always solicitous without being
cloying. This isn't a restaurant where they take away
your butter everytime you touch it. The servers are
tending your needs, rather than touching your table
for no reason. I tend to be uncomfortable with
restaurants where the servers hover and prefer a
restaurant like Jakes.
I have been to this restaurant with business groups,
with large groups of friends and for romantic evenings.
I recommend it to anyone who likes fresh, subtly
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Kid Friendliness: No
Vegetarian Friendly: Yes
Notes, Tips or Menu Recommendations Fresh seafood is the reason for Jakes.
Vegetarians can be served here but
I'd only go if I'm in the mood for
seafood. The fresh menu is long.
Order from the day's fresh items
and don't be afraid to ask for a
different preparation if you'd like one.
Best Suited For: Large Group