Lunch service returns to Haymarket's jtk

2012-05-24T23:40:00Z Lunch service returns to Haymarket's jtkBy JEFF KORBELIK / Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com

When jtk first opened in 2007, it featured a lunch service, but it didn’t take and the restaurant scrapped it.

“We kind of had some extenuating circumstances,” co-owner Tyler Mohr said. “We hadn’t worked all the kinks out.”

The biggest problem was getting food out of the kitchen in a timely manner, he said. Downtown workers, most with only an hour to spare over the noon hour, bypassed jtk for other quicker options.

“It also didn’t help that the (O Street) overpass closed for a few months after we opened,” Mohr said.

But things change.

jtk has resurrected lunch service Monday after a trial run late last week.

“We’ve always been thinking about it,” Mohr said. “We have a concept that we think will go really well.”

Mohr, co-owner Jason Kuhr and Executive Chef Andrew Spilker have introduced a small, prix fixe menu that will change every two weeks.

The menu had two sections: soup and salads, and sandwiches.

Diners are given a choice of two among the two soups and three salads for $8. A soup is paired with a salad, but there are no rules for putting two salads or two soups together.

One soup changes daily, while the other is the restaurant’s signature “two onion” soup with melted provolone.

The sandwich portion features three selections with each served with a choice of soup, house salad or house-made potato chips for $10. Current sandwich options are steak, chicken and caprese with prosciutto.

Food

The food, as usual, was outstanding. jtk is one of my favorites in town, so it came as no surprise.

I enjoyed the steak sandwich, which featured sliced steak pieces with sauteed onions and peppers, provolone cheese and garlic aioli on a grilled French bread. I paired it with the soup of the day, a cream of mushroom with bacon.

Half of the sandwich with a side would have been enough for lunch. Had jtk done that, it could have brought the price down to $6 or $7.

The sandwich burst with flavor, so an au jus sauce wasn’t needed, but I still would have made that an option for those who like to dip their sandwiches. That’s my only criticism of it.

My editor enjoyed the sauteed chicken salad with a cup of the onion soup. Her salad featured dried cranberries, crumbled feta and candied walnuts (to give it a sweet crunch) over spinach and tossed in champagne vinaigrette.

Dessert is an option, with several choice available for $4 each. We shared a rich brownie made with Ghirardelli chocolate served warm and topped with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. It wasn't needed but was thoroughly enjoyed. Grade: A

Service

We finished our meal in an hour and that included an extra 10 to 15 minutes for dessert. Of course, we were just one of two tables at the time. I’m curious to see if the kitchen can keep up when the dining rooms are full. I’m optimistic. Mohr said the trial run -- which featured $2 meals for invited guests -- went well. Grade: A

Atmosphere

jtk leans toward fine dining, even for lunch, so don’t show up in shorts and a T-shirt. Jazz music fills the dining rooms, which feature white cloth napkins on white tableclothed tables. Servers wear white shirts and black pants. Grade: A

Vegetarian friendly

All three of the sandwiches on the first menu featured meat, although each probably could have been made without it. jtk would be wise to either make one of three a vegetarian choice or add a vegetarian option. One of three salads was a vegetarian, as was one of the two soups. Grade: B-

Reach Jeff Korbelik at 402-473-7213 or jkorbelik@journalstar.com, or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/LJSjeffkorbelik.

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