The Upper West Side isn’t necessarily well-known for its great food scene, like say the West Village is, but if I were to name one must-try place there, it would be Jacob’s Pickles.
This gastro pub/comfort food/Southern/home-cooking restaurant on Amsterdam Ave serves up some crazy delicious food in equally crazy portion sizes. My friend has this hilarious story about how the first time his friends wanted to meet up at Jacob’s Pickles, he legitimately thought the place only served pickles so he ate beforehand. Now that’s a rookie mistake to begin with, but the fact that most of what you can order there is heavy, hearty food plus the fact that they’re quite generous with their servings means he was in for even more of a shock. (Don’t worry, said friend is a trooper and he did the honorable thing by eating a second dinner.)
Let’s pick it up from the top. While it’s not all you can get there, yes, you may order pickles at this establishment, and there’s a variety of options. We ordered four types for $11–special sours cukes, hot sours cukes, big dill kosher cukes, and thyme jalapenos. All were top-notch, but the special sours were my favorite. Other pickled things you can get include dilly green beans, candy red beets, sweet and spicy carrots, sour green tomatoes, and pickled eggs. They also have a Pickle Lab Series on the menu with some pickling experiments that I’m sure change over time.
The rest of the menu is divided between starters, salads, Southern biscuit sandwiches, home cooking, butcher shop, and sides. You can’t really pinpoint one type or ethnicity of the food, but it’s all of the feel-good variety. You know, things like matzo ball soup, poutine, shrimp and bacon grits, grilled salmon salad, meatloaf, ribs…the good stuff.
I had heard lavish praise about their Southern sandwiches served on those big, crumbly biscuits, so that’s what I went for. There are six kinds you can order, and I chose the mushroom gravy smothered chicken buttermilk fried chicken with 2 year aged Vermont cheddar. That one checked allllll the boxes for me. When I finally got my sandwich, my jaw dropped. It. was. MOUNTAINOUS. And truly smothered in delicious gravy! I don’t even want to think about how many calories that baby was, and in fact, I refuse! Especially because oh what…yeah…all the sandwiches are served with cheese grits–super smooth, extra cheesy, amazing grits. I’ve never been a fan of the dish until I tried these.
But wait! There’s more! Can you believe it? Another one of the dishes that Jacob’s Pickles is famous for is their mac & cheese. Made with penne pasta, served in a little cast iron skilled, and all golden brown and crispy on top, this macaroni was one of the books. And I wouldn’t expect anything else since the Jacob behind Jacob’s Pickles also opened Mmmac & Cheese in Boston’s Quincy Market. I promise I didn’t realize that my sandwich came with grits when I ordered this, but who am I kidding, I probably would’ve gotten it just to try anyways. And I’ll have you know that I did share with the table (everyone needed to try that goodness).
If you go and order a spread at all like mine, you’ll probably be way too full to even look at a dessert menu, but if you have the space, I’ve heard that their bread pudding is stupendous. Keep those carbs comin’, man!
Jacob’s Pickles always seems to be poppin’, so don’t be surprised if there’s a little bit of a wait when you go. But once you’re inside, take in all the wonder that is their extremely tasty, extremely filling food.
Four types of pickles, mac & cheese, mushroom gravy smothered chicken buttermilk fried chicken with 2 year aged Vermont cheddar
509 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10024