Jackey’s Café $3.50 lunch special is the cheapest around, besting neighboring Eat First by a whole 40 cents! Eat First boasts a picture of John Travolta dining and some old, decent reviews hanging in the window. Which adds up to the best value for lunch? At that price, is either edible?
Dish: Kung Pao. Peanuts add a great crunch to the dish. It’s covered in your standard sugary brown sauce which is not bad if you’re in the mood for sweet Americanized Chinese food. The chicken chunks aren’t too big, but you’ll get all the protein you need, and have enough left for a 2nd or even a third meal. At a second visit, tofu with vegetables is not exactly exciting, but is plenty satisfying.
Another diner’s chicken and broccoli makes me think I made the wrong choice. I stayed away, fearing white sauce, slivers of broccoli, and minced chicken. Her plate had many fresh looking crowns and big chunks of good looking chicken.
Rice: The fried rice is just brown and a little bit gummy.
Extras: Comes with a spring roll. It’s dripping grease, but filled with tasty cabbage and shrimp. Above average if it wasn’t so oily.
Condiments: A decent red chili oil, with duck sauce, mustard, and soy on the table.
Service: Friendly and attentive servers. Lots of water refills.
Décor: Surprisingly one of the quaintest spots on the block. Dimly lit with wood paneling, it’s newly renovated.
Really? The menu lists all specials at $5.95. I have to ask about the $3.50, and find I have two choices. Prices are regularly $5.95, so you’re saving $2.50 if you stay within the confines of the special.
Dish: Spicy Chicken. It’s not spicy, and the red chili oil doesn’t help much. The dish has a lot of cabbage in it. It’s all pretty bland.
Rice: Fried rice doesn’t have much in it, but has some crisp and is tasty.
Service: The place is busy and it’s hard to get my servers attention, whichever one she is. I have to ask for chopsticks and condiments.
Condiments: The red chili oil is boring and is the only thing on the table. If you want soy or anything else, you’ll have to ask for it.
Décor: Stark and white, hospital cafeteria style.
Cleanliness: Seems grimy and worn around the edges.
Really? Some specials are $3.90. Some are $4.20 or $4.80 or higher. There are many more choices here hovering around $4.00.
The winner is Jackey’s by miles! Despite the ‘higher’ price tag, Eat First packs them in because they’ve been written up in the past. Positive reviews give them credence, but I’ve never been impressed. Jackey’s, a relative new comer, is the cheapest around, and offers good quality to boot. If can fit yourself within their limited choices, you’ll be out of Jackey’s for less than $5, including tip!