Jack’s Wife Freda – Greenwich Village, Manhattan – October 1, 2016
When I was in my twenties, I was always out with my friends in Greenwich Village. Since then, I do not make it there as often as I used to. So, naturally, the neighborhood has changed. I have been meaning to make it to Jack’s Wife Freda, a new addition to the area since my earlier days, and I finally made it there with my husband this past weekend.
“Jack’s Wife Freda is a lively all-day bistro executing American-Mediterranean cooking & classic cocktails in understated digs…Revising familiar twists on everyday food…If you were going to give the cuisine a long and unwieldy name, it might be South African Israeli Jewish Grandmother Cuisine.” (http://jackswifefreda.com/about/, 2016)
We started with appetizers: Peri-Peri Chicken Wings and Matzo Ball Soup.
“Piri piri (also spelled peri peri, pili pili), also called African bird’s eye chili… one of the sources of chili pepper that grows both wild and domesticated.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piri_piri, 2016) The juicy wings were deep fried and drizzled with mildly spicy peri-peri sauce and sliced scallions. I loved the crunchy texture and the sauce, though I do wish the wings would have been coated with it instead of drizzled with it.
I was spoiled as a child because my Grandma Lillian made amazing matzo ball soup from scratch. As a result, I have very high standards for it. The matzo ball soup here had a large fluffy matzo ball with golden chicken broth, thinly sliced carrots, and a generous sprinkling of grassy shredded dill. It was a decent soup, but beyond the delicious flavor of dill I found both the broth and the matzo ball to be bland. In my opinion, both could have used the flavor of freshly ground black pepper.
For my entree, I had the Madame Freda sandwich. This is a pressed sandwich with duck prosciutto, cheddar béchamel ( pronounced beh-shah-mell, a sauce made from butter, flour, and milk), gruyere, and topped with a sunny side up egg. I thoroughly enjoyed this sandwich. The salty, slightly gamy duck prosciutto melded beautifully with the sharpness of the cheddar béchamel and the nutty gruyere. The yolk of the egg was only slightly runny. When I cut into it, it retained its shape for the most part. By pressing this sandwich, it created a crispy, crunchy texture. The sandwich was accompanied by an undressed pile of arugula (I chose this instead of french fries.) topped with pickled red onions. The sandwich was so rich and decadent that I felt that fries would have been too heavy. I asked for oil and vinegar to dress the tender peppery greens.
Accessibility Rating for Jack’s Wife Freda
I used my wheelchair to visit Jack’s Wife Freda.
- Entryway – 4: There is one wide door at the entrance. It was propped open when we arrived and when we left. There is a bump at the threshold. There are no stairs.
- Bathroom (Accessible bathroom) – 3: The dimly lit, accessible bathroom has two grab bars around the toilet. Making a 180° turn within the room was challenging due to the room being narrow and a large garbage can in the room. The sink has a standard height faucet with standard length handles. It was difficult to fit underneath the sink to get close to it.
- Walkways/Space – 3: The space is long and narrow. It has tables with banquettes and chairs along the walls with the exception of the front right section where the bar is. In the middle, there are tables with moveable chairs and benches. Considering the space, this is the most logical arrangement for the furniture, and you will read later on how the staff worked hard to make the space accessible. When we arrived, the space was brightly lit, but the lights were dimmed as the time passed. It was noisy due to talking, dishes clanking, and background music.
Video Description: Interior of Jack’s Wife Freda, Greenwich Village, Manhattan on October 1, 2016 – Video shows long restaurant space with long table in the center and banquettes and tables on either side along the walls. There are people dining and talking at tables throughout the restaurant.
- Staff – 5: The staff was fantastic. Upon our arrival, not only were they welcoming, a staff member offered us our choice of tables for what worked best for me. Then, after selecting our table, she moved all of the tables and chairs out of the way so I could get to our table. She did the same thing when we left. She is to be commended because she knew to do all of this without prompting. The hallway in front of the bathroom had tables and chairs in it, and upon my request, another staff member happily removed them so I could access the bathroom. This was the best treatment I have received from a staff in a long time, and they are to be praised for it.
- Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.