Meeting (the NEW) Mr. Jones
For all my healthy intentions regarding food the devil on my shoulder is forever battling my angel. You see I love French fries, cheese and bread. And don’t get me started on anything sweet. Healthy versus hedonist is an internal war that is waged within myself on most days.
When the opportunity arose to dine at the recently revamped Mr. Jones I was excited to binge on their delicious but waistline-hostile fare. However I was pleasantly surprised by some of the newly added options on the menu that are unexpectedly on the lighter and more nutritious side.
Inspired by the 1960’s, Mr. Jones is a contemporary diner located in Greenbelt 5. It offers a full array of authentic American cuisine like gourmet diner pies, burgers, old-fashioned milkshakes n’ egg creams, fountain drinks, boutique gourmet beers and all-day breakfast among others.
I recruited two of my favorite mamas (Monica Olbes and Lexi Schulze) to help me indulge, enjoy and analyze the new and improved diner. Martin Wisniewski and Cyril Addison of Raintree Restaurants had planned out a sumptuous sampler menu of their healthier items for us plus a few of their classic staples.
Here is the food extravaganza we partook in and our appraisals of the food.
Monica Olbes (MO): As I slid my way into the red leather, pintuck upholstered booth, I realized that a complete diner experience awaited me. Mr. Jones was the real deal. The transformation was intact, from the 1950’s Americana interiors, the uniforms of the friendly staff, down to the pre-requisite colorful menu chock-filled with classic comfort food; I was in for an old-school treat.
Lexi Schulze (LS): I’ve always been a fan of comfort food. Though many of the metro’s new restos have gone in that direction, there’s always a sense of refinement that comes with it—to make it feel current: minimalist interiors, dainty portions, fusion ingredients.
All this classing up staples like burgers or a bowl of chili and serving them up in delicate china is completely fine. Nevertheless, once in a while, it’s great—no, necessary!—to be able to be taken back to a time of simple pleasures via a good ol’ fashioned soda pop shop with great grub to match!
This is why I enjoy Mr. Jones. It’s a kitschy place that’s fun and vintage with its bright colors, spacious booths and humungous portions of food (I share, of course)! Here, I am reconnected with the child in me—and I eat the way I did in my teens and twenties by not thinking about calories…just because!
Of course, the guys at Mr. Jones are wise to put healthy alternatives on the menu—for those who have chosen to live an elevated lifestyle, yet still want to sit and enjoy in such a cool place.
And, since I was wearing my Mommy hat for Glam-O-Mamas, the new dishes we were lucky enough to sample were on the wholesome side of the spectrum (with a few cheats like fries and gravy…thanks Mommy Monica for throwin’ that in there!)…
Here’s what I got to try from Mr. Jones’ ever-growing menu with my playgroup mom troop—and dear friends—Amanda Griffin-Jacob and Monica Olbes-Macowski!
MO: My classic vanilla milkshake was delicious. I practically inhaled that creamy piece of heaven before we were even halfway through our meal.
“Tiki Tiki Lukelani” Mac-a-Roni (NEW) P295
MO: This is your mom’s classic Christmas Macaroni salad with a Polynesian twist. The jell-o is a colorful addition to the plate and fun to nibble on after the macaroni has been devoured.
LS: The macaroni salad was much like what I’m used to at home. Didn’t think I’d want to try the Jell-O, but its bright yellowness called out to me…I was pleasantly surprised!
Amanda Jacob (AJ): If you’re hankering for a bit of nostalgia for your childhood or the Christmas season then this mac salad is a must-have. It reminded me of Mom’s.
“Truffles Disco” Beef Gravy and Cheesy Fries (NEW) P395
LS: I thought I was biting into a potato, but it was a really soft piece of meat that melted in my mouth! Super filling…definitely to share. Love anything Truffle!
MO: My favorite dish of the lunch. Thick, heavy, hearty with a few drops of truffle oil to round off the yummy experience. I am definitely going back to Mr. Jones for this one.
AJ: Being the only pescatarian at the table, I wasn’t able to try. But I must admit the fries looked delish!
“Louie’s” Cold Lump Crab and Shrimp Salad (NEW) P375
MO: Taste-wise, both the crab and shrimp salads were very good. However, I would not recommend ordering this dish because 2 out of the 3 judges found pieces of crab shell in their bites.
LS: The dressing had a nice kick, but it overwhelmed the seafood a bit.
AJ: This dish is reminiscent of the 80’s and will appeal to seafood lovers. I enjoyed the taste but not the shell I unfortunately got in the crab.
Old-Fashioned Grilled Cheese and Alphabet Tomato Soup P230
MO: The “ultimate in comfort food” as one judge put it. A warm, buttery and gooey grilled cheese sandwich matched with the familiar tart crisp of tomato soup. This is a well-balanced dish perfect for adults and kids who will both enjoy fishing for the alphabet noodles in the soup.
LS: I will NEVER say no to GRILLED CHEESE!
AJ: Darn good tomato soup…but I have to say that I wanted the sandwich to be cheesier (that’s the hedonist in me talking).
“Twisted” Tuna Melt on Rye (NEW) P450
MO: Not for the faint of heart! Oozing with cheese and matched with thick slabs of rye bread, this giant sandwich is perfect for a giant appetite. Be willing to get your fingers a bit drenched by holding the sandwich with your hands—you’ll need them both to get a good grip on this big meal.
LS: For those who think that ordering a tuna sandwich is considered a “diet” choice, think again! It’s too packed with flavor (and cheese) to be less fattening! To die for rye bread…I ate it on its own. Good bread = good sandwich!
AJ: I’ve always been a tuna melt girl. And this one is no exception. In my opinion it is definitely a share plate. There’s no way any one of us could possibly finish the whole sandwich on our own. We had to take off the top piece of bread to eat it. The French fries are divine (the secret is their old bay seasoning). One caveat I have to add though, is that I think Mr. Jones has this marked as one of their “healthy options” which I can pretty much assure you that it’s not. With the abundant portions of cheese, tuna mayo and fries this dish is one of their homey, calorie laden staples.
Char-Grilled “Greek Style” Norwegian Salmon Steak P450
MO: Though a continent away from your regular diner fare, this dish was my 2nd favorite of the afternoon. When it comes to Salmon, there are two golden rules: it has to taste fresh and not be over cooked. I am usually disappointed when I order a salmon dish in Manila, but this was one of the few exceptions! What a delightful surprise. The salmon was tasty, and moist, and the sprinkle of goat cheese gave it a nice kick.
LS: Fresh fish! Love anything dill too. A true healthy choice.
AJ: I loved this dish. I’m a salmon aficionado but like Monica I don’t usually order it in Manila because 9 times out of 10 I am disappointed (it almost always has that “fishy” taste). This salmon was cooked beautifully and melted in my mouth (the way salmon should). The Greek style salad on top added a different flavor that was unexpected and delightful. Even the wild rice was yummy. One of my favorite dishes of the meal and one of the healthier ones to boot.
Sizzlin’ Butter Seafood “Foil Broil” (NEW) P420
MO: A well executed seafood dish. Broiled fish and shellfish paired with a sauce perfect for dipping your bread in.
LS: Again, I went for the bread and dunked it in all that buttery goodness.
AJ: Another favorite of mine. The seafood was fresh and simple in flavor with the delicious broth designed to bring out the flavors. Loved the presentation. And like Lex, couldn’t resist dunking the sourdough bread into the sauce.
“Tropical” Pineapple Split (NEW) P320
MO: For those who love ice cream, this is a great Filipino twist on an American classic dessert. Pineapple, macapuno, mango and jackfruit top three generous scoops of ice cream.
LS: To be honest, I’m a purist when it comes to my “split”—gotta have chocolate, vanilla and strawberry enveloped by two banana halves! The avocado ice cream was quite good on its own though…
AJ: Fresh, creamy and yummy.
Warm Baked Brownie and Blondie (NEW)
MO: Yum, yum and yum. What can I say? Warm baked goods on top of ice cream, is a no-brainer in my book. Make sure you leave room for this dessert.
LS: Beyond rich! But that’s never a bad thing.
AJ: A chocoholic dream. And the Blondie was delish too. The brownie was moist and hot and fudgy and accompanied by creamy mantecado ice cream. The Blondie was a great foil for the decadent brownie being a bit lighter with a hint of cinnamon. I could go on and on. Definitely worth the calories!
Located in Greenbelt 5, at the heart of Makati City, Mr. Jones will be your go-to place for some good ol’ American grub. They’ve got something for everyone: from classic heavy diner food to a few lighter dishes for those with smaller appetites.
Child-friendly interiors with some fun games to entertain the kids, Mr. Jones is also a great restaurant for moms.
All I have left to say is, I had to undo my skinny jean button before walking away a happy Mama!
The newly revamped Mr. Jones Menu has options for everyone now. If you’re in the mood for yummy comfort food or a healthier bite. I highly recommend to Mommies and kids!
MR. JONES is located at the ground floor area of Greenbelt 5. For reservations please call: 501-3111
October 20, 2011 by Amanda Griffin-Jacob