Monday, February 20, 2012

Jimmy's Place

WHAT I LOVE: delicious fresh food, perfect potato sides, friendly owners, relaxed atmosphere.
WHAT I DISAPPROVE: cash only, inflexible side choices, lazy omelet

Jimmy's Place Restaurant on Urbanspoon

There is a shopping plaza on North Road just south of Austin Street in Burquitlam, and in the far corner is a little diner jewel called Jimmy's Place serves up fresh bistro meals with a price that will make you want to dis the McDonald's situated just a block away.

When you enter, you are immediately greeted at the door with a Korean smile. Yes, Korean-owned! As a Korean, I had to immediately bow in politeness. It's just reflex!

Behind the front counter sits their entire kitchen where the food is cooked -- in the open air for customers to see. Yet, there is no dingy diner smell and the place is spotlessly clean: always a good sign.

This being my first time there, I had to try the Jimmy's special burger with bacon and cheese. It comes with a side of fries. Nothing fancy or original. But to me, a good burger is all about the quality of the ingredients first.

The process is simple. You order, pay, serve yourself a big cup of water, and then take a seat anywhere in the place. Then I got my first surprise: no switching fries for salad. OK, I can accept that. Second surprise: cash only. Actually, they will accept your debit card but not credit. This may disappoint a lot of their patrons, but the repeat customers will hopefully remember to come prepared.

The seating is plentiful in a "diner booth" decor. It doesn't ever seem to be empty. Their customers appeared relaxed, just enjoying a little conversation over lunch.

When the burger came, I thought to myself, "This doesn't look like anything special. Basic burger with melted cheese over the bacon. Ice-berg lettuce (groan) with some tomato, pickle and onion. Generous portion of beef steak fries."

I took a bite of one of their fries and thought I had gone to french fry heaven. Light and crispy on the outside and the potato on the inside feels like it's melting in your mouth. It was the freshest and most delightful fry I had ever sunk my teeth into. No salt, so you can add as much as you please. For me, I always prefer none, so I was dancing for joy inside. I had ended up eating 3 or 4 of the fries before I realized I better try the burger before it gets cold!

I assembled the burger together and took my first bite. The balance of all the flavors was perfect. But what was most evident was how juicy and flavorful the meat was. It was as if they took a wad of fresh ground beef, patted it flat on the spot and slapped it straight on the grill. It tasted as if it were as fresh as could get -- and it was absolutely delicious!

I knew I had to come back to try their famous breakfasts. And as I left out the door with a friendly farewell from the staff, I noticed on the sandwich board outside that breakfast is served all day. Woohoo! My favorite meal for lunch.

A few days later, it was time to try the everything omelet. The large plate that they use came virtually covered with food. I could barely wait to dig in. I threw on some pepper, and then realized I had forgotten to snap the photograph!

At initial glace, the huge side of hash browns, covering half the plate and at least a full inch thick, drew my first bite. Just like the french fries I had before, this was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Oh Lordy! Jimmy's Place has figured out how to fast fry the perfect potato sides. Again no salt or spices. Just pure potato goodness. Yes, I'm in love.

I then helped myself to a bite of the omelet and found that the texture wasn't fluffy or rich like an omelet should be. I noticed that this is just 2-3 tossed eggs poured onto the griddle, and the "everything" incredients tossed on top. Not your standard omelet that is flipped in half like a pocket and given a chance to rise to get that fluffy goodness. (Note to self: post a video on the proper way to prepare an omelet.) The omelet felt a little over-cooked and I could taste the griddle which is not something I prefer to have with eggs. And just as a side note: if you're going to make an "everything omelet", include cheese. It would make a world of difference.

In terms of the combination of ingredients they added to the eggs, it made me decide that having everything on your omelet is not necessarily the best. It's like my distaste for food buffets where you eat japanese, mexican and italian all in one meal. By themselves they may be great, but put together, it's a distasteful mess. Jimmy's everything omelet is not a disaster by any stretch of the imagination. But I wasn't as impressed as other reviewers. For me, the hash browns saved the dish.

I look forward to going back many, many times and getting to know the staff and owner there. It is a friendly little place to have that cheap date, read a nice book or get your blogging done.

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