Last Modified: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 5:52 PM
While sitting contently and devouring fried fish, shrimp Creole and a zesty coleslaw inside Jag’s Bistro, something big and beastly caught my attention.
It caused me to glance at it not once, not twice, but at least three times to determine just what was this dish-covering object being lugged around by the waitress.
A brief look at the menu provided an answer: Mile High Meatloaf.
According to the menu, the meatloaf is “a unique plate experience. Grilled French bread topped with homemade meatloaf, mashed potatoes, gravy, bacon, onions and tomatoes. Smothered in homemade brown gravy.”
For all of the heart-healthy people, stay away from this creation from the culinary demented mind of the restaurant’s executive chef, Steve Foss.
Three years ago, while traveling and eating across the country, the Ocean City, Md., transplant saw a similar beefy behemoth. It left an indelible impression on him.
It took some time — and for him to end up in the right place — before Foss got an opportunity to put the meatloaf on a menu.
Jag’s, which is owned by Keith Jagneaux, seems to be the place where Foss can cook to his own muse.
“What we do is good home-cooked food. The menu has treats from all over the country,” Jagneaux said.
The restaurant’s offerings include a Maryland crab cake sandwich, double-decker Ruben, lobster roll, lasagna, fried and grilled seafood, salads and burgers.
Jag’s menu is expected to grow, the result of weekend kitchen experiments the guys conduct.
Along with the meatloaf, their sandwich — Beyonce — is one of their favorites.
It is a grilled chicken breast, marinated in jerk sauce and topped with pepper jack cheese, bacon, pineapple and a dab of mango sauce.
“It’s pretty but it can’t sing,” Jagneaux said.
As compelling as the menu is, the quality of the food is what Jagneaux and Foss focus on intently.
It is no secret that Jag’s, at 425 Seventh St., is inside a building that some consider cursed.
The list of restaurants that have opened and closed at that address include Byron’s Catering, Mama Rosa’s, Joe’s Pizza and Pasta, and a South American eatery that did not last long enough for me to remember its name.
Jagneaux decided to open his first-ever restaurant there in keeping with his late mother’s wishes.
“My mom thought it would be a perfect place. I liked the building and the way it looked, so I decided to do it and open up,” he said.
Jagneaux and Ross know the restaurant’s future depends on preparing food that customers not only want but crave.
The Mile High Meatloaf, which towers up to 6 inches when plated, has the type of bold flavor that customers are hungering for when they visit Jag’s.
“It is served with a bamboo stick to keep it standing,” Jag said. “Most people sit and eat it all, but not everybody can finish it."
Eric Cormier writes about food every Wednesday. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 494-4090.