These days, all I want are biscuits. Biscuits topped, loaded, and bursting with gravy. A recent soul-searching trip to Jack’s Southern Comfort Food, which opened quietly along Greenville Avenue on October 1, with our photography intern, Melisa Oporto, fixed this problem in a jiffy. Halle-biscuit-lujah.
I am very particular about my biscuits. I typically like mine smaller, about palm-sized, and compact (the kind best eaten with sorghum syrup). But owner Scott Jones’ biscuits are actually none of these. His are extra fluffy in the middle with a golden crunch around the edges. They’re pretty sturdy, too, because executive chef Terance Jenkins tops his biscuits with heavy ingredients, like Jimmy’s sausage gravy or thick, luscious bechamel sauce.
“I spent about six months testing those [biscuit] recipes,” says Jones. Even though he won’t give away his secrets, he tells me that he mixes delicate premium flours (like King Arthur flours) with pure butter, Vital Farms jumbo organic eggs, and pure buttermilk in a regular mixing bowl. After cutting the dough by hand into small batches, they try to cook as many of the biscuits they can in a cast iron to get the hearty biscuits Jenkins serves on large platters. To be honest, the biscuit platters aren’t pretty. The upside down smoked chicken pot pie with carrots and peas is slathered in bechamel sauce, and it looks like something random and messy is splattered on top of the biscuit. The same goes with the open faced biscuit with Jimmy’s sausage gravy, roasted peppers, caramelized onions, and grilled mushroom. Not a beautiful sight, either. But you don’t go to Jack’s expecting everything to look like a plate on Top Chef. You go for the biscuits – dense and fluffy as they are.
But, really, the Texasian salad that came with the upside down smoked chicken pot pie stole the show. When chef Jenkins came by our table for the second time to ask how we were doing, he told me he used a sesame-based vinaigrette for his cole slaw, which was a mixture of cucumber, carrots, and radishes lightly dressed. Amazing.
Jack’s also sells gourmet to-go items in its deli section. Pick up some cold fried chicken, stuffed meatballs, or pimento cheese while you’re there.