Steppin’ Out – JackZ: Good Eats on the Move

I’m sure a lot of you are wondering about JackZ, the newly opened restaurant that is located about three miles east of Diamond Springs, at 1821 Pleasant Valley Road (the old Zachary Jacques location). It is a very unique restaurant serving fantastic food at very reasonable prices.
How do they do it? You order, find a table you like, and they bring you your food. It only takes two people to run a restaurant like that, which keeps the costs down.
Chef John Evans and his wife Lynnette are the owners with Chef John in the kitchen and Lynnette taking care of the front of the house. It is that simple.

I have known John and Lynnette for a dozen years starting when they took over the old Zachary Jacques. He is one of the top chefs in my book, who started in the restaurant business at 16 and, after gathering kitchen experience at several restaurants, graduated from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Las Vegas, the culinary Mecca of the west.

Before writing this, Chef John insisted that I do three things: take a dinner to go to see if it arrived at my home in proper condition; bring a friend for lunch and have their “Two for $10″ special and, finally, have dinner at the restaurant. As he put it, “Have the whole experience.”

Well, not one to turn down a meal, the next day I stopped by and ordered their house speciality, a juicy, roasted half chicken, marinated in their citrus, garlic herb sauce and then roasted with fruit wood. For sides, it comes with two, I had Cole Slaw (Chinese style) and White Cheddar Mac.

It wasn’t very long before the meal was all wrapped up and handed to me, so I headed home, which, for the record, is only about 15 minutes away.

I opened the containers and, yes everything was hot (except the salad, of course) and had a wonderful aroma.

I separated a piece of the chicken and tried it. It was very moist and had an excellent flavor. Then I tried the White Cheddar Mac – heavenly.

I don’t eat a lot of “Mac & Cheese,” but I am a lover of Cheddar cheese. Their’s is decadent. I almost ate it all before going back to the rest of the dinner.

Between bites of the two I enjoyed the cole slaw. It was lightly dressed and nicely cleared the palate. All in all, a wonderful meal.

The next day I invited my friend, Russ Salazar, to meet me there for lunch, explaining to him that we were going to have their “Two for $10″ special.

The special lunch is a choice of any two sandwiches and two sides. Now, these aren’t just run of the mill sandwiches, they are very special.
Russ went for the Grilled Salmon sandwich, which consisted of grilled salmon, topped with grilled carrots, celery, red onion, green beans, cucumbers, lemon mayo and romaine.

I selected the So Cal Chicken sandwich, which contained chicken with red onion, mushrooms, cheese, romaine, avocado, tomato and garlic mayo.

I let Russ select the sides and he chose the Mac and Cole Slaw, like I had the night before.

We took seats in the main dining room and, shortly, our lunch arrived.

The sandwiches, both on house-baked buns, were great. The salmon was nicely grilled, but remained moist, as was the chicken. The choice of other ingredients in the sandwiches was perfect and enhanced the flavors, adding a bit of crunch.

Russ, like me, loved the sides which, like the sandwiches, we split. When I mentioned that I wasn’t going to eat the rest of my share of the Mac, he took it and said, “Before you change your mind,” as he finished it.

Lynnette came by our table to see if we liked the food – something she already knew from our smiles – and offered us some dessert. They have a great carrot cake, but we decided to try their own chocolate layer cake, which turned out to be a chocolate lover’s dream.

Russ asked if they had milk to go with the cake, and she said, “Of course” and got him a glass. He replied, “That gives you two extra points.”
I am surprised that the two of us finished that cake, but we did. It was so rich and chocolatey, a perfect ending for the meal. We left happy and full.

A couple of days later I called to thank them for the great lunch, and Chef John said I should complete my review and come by for dinner.

This time I ordered the Steak du Jour, which that evening was a Coulette cut, the cap from the top sirloin. For sides I had buttered green beans and summer squash.

I brought with me a bottle of wine I wanted to try, which Lynnette opened and then poured some into a glass for me.

Although they also have wine by the glass and bottle, they encourage you to bring a wine of your own to have with your meal. The corkage fee is only $1.99 – yes, less than two bucks.

The steak was cooked perfectly, quite tender for that cut and very full of flavor. The sides completed the meal very well. The beans were crisp and he had actually removed the seeds from the squash before cooking. Little things make a difference.

I decided to try the carrot cake, but only a little piece, I told them. It too was made by them and wonderful, wonderful. Much better than a typical carrot cake.

Their menu, which is still under construction (they solicit you comments on it) contains several salads, including a Salmon Caesar, Thai Chicken, Asian Seared Tuna and Ranch Steak salad. In addition to the two sandwiches I mentioned, they also have a Peking Chicken, Chicken Tex Mex and Bahn Mi sandwiches. I would love to list the ingredients of each, but you can find them on their webpage.

The “Fork & Knife” portion of the menu includes their chicken and the Steak du Jour, along with Braised Beef, Crispy Salmon and Seared Ahi Tuna. The list of sides includes the White Cheddar Mac, Cole Slaw and Green Beans Buttered I enjoyed, along with Mashed Potato, Potato Salad, and rice. They also have French Onion soup and, to finish your meal, other desserts along with the two cakes I enjoyed so much. And, ask about the specials of the day.

Kids meals? Yes. Macaroni & Cheese, Grilled Cheese with a side, Chicken with a side and Butter Noodles. And, they have milk, along with wine, coffee, tea, etc.

JackZ is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:30 with the last seating at 8 p.m.

For more information call (530) 626-8045 or visit their webpage at www.zacharyjacques.com, where you will find their menu fully described.
About half of their business is to-go, as people on their way home stop to pick up food for dinner or just some side dishes to enjoy with what they plan on having, White Cheddar Mac is a very popular to-go side.

Oh, check out the metal sculpture they have. Chickens and other animals you will love.

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