I’ve driven past Jines Restaurant several times and always see hordes in line, waiting to get inside. Last week, I decided to stop in and see what the hype is about.
Upon entrance, I was a bit confused about Jines’ niche. They advertise as a Greek diner, but the menu doesn’t totally support that claim. The breakfast menu mainly consisted of varieties of eggs — Greek influence nowhere in sight. The lunch menu had quite a few Greek dishes, but many completely non-Greek options, including an entire section of just Italian entrees.
I decided to lean into Jines Restaurant’s Greek identity by ordering mainly Greek options. Up first, a famed Greek classic — moussaka. All of Jines’ portions are generous, and this dish was no exception. When the waitress placed this mountain of meat and cream in front of me, I started getting excited. Just the stack of meat on the plate, alone, was a substantial block. . The meat, seasoned generously, was creamy and luscious, though not quite as much as the wildly decadent sauce blanketing the whole dish. The topping of the moussaka lent a wonderful cheesy flavor and texture. This is a dish I would order again, if I could find three people to share it with.
One of our entrees came with a soup, so I chose the Greek avgolemono. It had a pronounced lemon flavor with a slight acidic bitterness, not in a bad way. The mixed-in orzo was buttery and melty inside the warm broth, creating a silky, cozy texture.
And now, I present to you the biggest boi of this brunch: the gyro assorted plate. First, the Greek salad: with a bright, light, slightly acidic dressing, it was fresh, crisp, and thoroughly enjoyed. The homemade pita was fluffy and soft, pairing perfectly with the fresh tzatziki dip. The spanakopita was quite rich, with a deep, earthy flavor that I couldn’t place but found lovely nonetheless. The stuffed grape leaves had an exciting tangy flavor. Much like the moussaka, the gyro meat had a wonderful balance of seasoning, highlighting the natural flavor of the meat without overpowering it.
Finally, since there was an entire Italian section of the menu, I decided I’d have to give this “Greek Diner” Italian food a try. I ordered the scallops marsala, and I could hardly have been more pleased. The scallops were plentiful and perfectly tender, the spaghetti was dressed well, and there were tons of fresh veggies. The mushrooms had a scrumptious, aggressively bold flavor. I have no idea what they did to intensify that natural mushroom flavor so much, but I am totally here for it.
I’m still not sure how to explain Jines Restaurant to a friend, but the food I sampled did not disappoint. Aside from being cooked perfectly, everything was seasoned generously and thoughtfully, something I appreciate and look for. And, much like Lento from last week’s CT Eats, I could tell that Jines is using quality ingredients, a detail that can truly make or break a dish.