Business Travelers: Do you recommend JG Domestic for
It was Friday, March 30, 2012 and I was meeting friends who worked in Cira Center for a lunch meal at the bar at JG Domestic. JG Domestic is in the lobby of the Cira Center near 30th Street Station. Many think JG Domestic is a destination restaurant unless you live or work in University City, in the Cira Tower or are nearby at 30th Street Station, Drexel University or University of Pennsylvania. I disagree, it is a short walk or cab ride from much of Center City.
We sit in the middle of the long end of the bar, there are only a couple of seats taken with lots of room. Part of the long end of the bar faces the wall and the liquor but stretches into the lobby portion of the restaurant then angles around. From where we were sitting in the middle, we had a partial view past the wall in front of us to the diners across the bar and through the restaurant into the lobby, a good comfortable spot. The longer portion of the bar has about 12 seats, 3 more on the end and about 3 additional on the other side before the wall started. This unique shape is possible because of the architecture of the Cira Center, a very handsome, glass building. The glass causes the lobby and the restaurant to be brightly lit throughout its expansive space with all the sunshine making for an excellent place to have lunch at the bar.
JG Domestic is a Jose Garces restaurant and the man is terrific, always known for wonderful food so we knew we were in for a treat. I order the onion soup and the Muffaletta sandwich. I ask before ordering if the sandwich is large, the very friendly and talkative bartender says it is quite large. I order the soup and the sandwich anyway, deciding to take half of the sandwich with me for a snack if it is too much. The soup is great and the sandwich with Mortadella, La Quercia Prosciutto, Mozzarella, Black Olive and Pickled Vegetables is terrific as well. The sandwich is large as promised and half leaves with me to be enjoyed later. .
My two friends order a burger to split and a chopped salad to spit as well. Very surprising since my friend can devour a very large burger in record time. I ask him if he is sick and claims no but I wonder. The restaurant graciously splits the salad and burger for them making for quite the good lunch. Burger was cooked very nicely, pink in the middle, perfect for them. Salad was great as well. We were told by some coworkers of my friends on their way out of the restaurant not to order the Friday special crab cake as they felt it was small, good if you are dieting.
As I said, many seats at the lobby side of the bar offer views through the front of the restaurant and into the lobby making you feel engaged with the activity around you while you eat. Lots of open bar seats at this time of day. Seat have small backs. There is one television which is oddly mounted directly at eye level behind the bar showing ESPN. While we were right near it, and since it was at eye level, we could see the TV quite clearly, I suspect if you are not close by, the television would be difficult to see. Don’t go counting on catching a game or a show.
I highly recommend JG for a bar meal for the placement of the bar, the great food and the service. The bartender was VERY friendly, talkative, engaging and interesting. Sit more toward the lobby and you will get a better feel for the restaurant and the comings and goings of the people in the lobby and restaurant.
Learned something new. One of my friends said brown napkins are used to keep white lint off of men’s and women’s dark suits. Details like this make this place shine. I will be coming back for another meal to check out the dinner bar experience.