3057 W. Logan Blvd. 773-292-6011
Hours: 7 a.m.-9 p.m. daily
Rating: !!! (out of 4) Off to a good start
Telling your friends, "I'm going to Jam in Logan Square," sounds like you're going to some kind of underground concert.
But the Jam I'm talking about is the beloved BYOB breakfast and lunch restaurant that drew rabid weekend crowds in its previous (now closed) location in Ukrainian Village. A new location opened to the public on Monday just off the Blue Line in Logan Square.
The new Jam has the same chef, Jeffrey Mauro, and chef de cuisine, Thaddeus Barton, who met working at North Pond and then moved on to La Pomme Rouge, Powerhouse (both now shuttered) and then Jam. The breakfast and lunch menu still features favorites such as pork belly eggs Benedict and the double-patty Jamburger. Even the long row of tables set with see-through chairs and lime-green placemats looks the same.
What's really different is Jam after dark. While a prix-fixe dinner moonlighted at the old Jam, the new one instead serves dinner year-round in the form of diner-inspired blue plate specials. I stopped in earlier this week to dig in.
Proof that shared plates are ubiquitous: My friend and I balked at the idea of choosing just two entrees, one for each of us. If you're craving more tastes, do as we did and ask for one of the lighter dishes, such as the pappardelle ($15), to split as a first course. This bowl of homemade pasta ribbons in mushroom broth with rapini, truffled pecorino and little morsels of cremini mushrooms isn't as rich as it sounds -- and that's a good thing.
Consult the calendar carefully... before coming for dinner. Blue plate specials ($17) rotate each day, and they all sound like the comfort food equivalent of curling up on your couch with a blanket, from Wednesday's venison stroganoff to Saturday's pot roast with polenta. I'm still thinking about Tuesday's pot pie filled with chicken confit, butternut squash and golden raisins. Smartly engineered to be wider and flatter than usual, it had more than enough buttery, flaky crust to go around.
Speaking of chicken... our server said the Amish chicken with quinoa ($14, a holdover from the previous location's lunch menu) is the chef's favorite. But I gotta say, it's up against some serious competition, considering Telegraph and Longman & Eagle nearby are both serving their own preparations of the Amish birds. I can't say Jam's was my favorite; maybe I should have gone with our server's first recommendation, an egg-topped open-faced pork liver terrine sandwich with sweet-and-sour cabbage ($12).
I was disappointed to find out... that there's no dessert menu, but then our server suggested a half order of the malted custard French toast, a favorite from the old Jam served with pink peppercorns, macerated cherries and lime-leaf cream.
Bottom line: Damn, we're glad Jam's back. My early impressions of dinner go to show that in this location, it's destined to be more than just a place to defect to when the wait at Longman & Eagle is unbearable (which is nearly every night).