By Tommy Clarkson from the January 2017 Edition
Tommy’s Tummy – restaurant review series
Over the last few months, a few folks have inquired as to why I’d not recently written about any of Manzanillo’s new, remodeled or relocated eateries. In keeping with my self-imposed promise to say nothing negative regarding anyone’s edible offerings, prices, presentational appearance, size of portions or regarding the establishment itself, the simple reality is that none have done much in “tripping our culinary trigger” beyond normalcy.
That is until we recently had the opportunity to eat at Jack’s Bistro. Now this restaurant is worthy of a great deal of favor-able talk!
The ambiance is small, cozy and friendly; Its soft-spoken, bespectacled owner from the Netherlands, Jack Kuis, deservedly, is renowned for his service among the foremost, world class, culinary ranks; And, the freshly-prepared dishes – definitely different from the offerings of other local restaurant fare in the area – is simply superlative, yet moderately-priced.
In conversation with him, one realizes that, from early on, Jack seemed destined for the field of fine food. His first job was that of working in the kitchen for the great-grandmother of the King of Holland! Later on, following three years of formal culinary arts schooling, he served in increasingly-responsible positions through several five star hotel/restaurants in such exotic locales as Aruba and St. Martins, culminating at the Princess Hotel in Acapulco, where he served as the Executive Chef and Director of Food and Beverage.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner offerings at Jack’s Bistro are all delightfully unique. As to the former, we’ll simply say, check for a most savory array of great ways to start off your day! Mid-day and evening selections are also unique and delectable! But three of his delicious “starter” offerings are Crepes with crab meat, glazed with hollandaise sauce or filled with spinach and Portobello mushrooms covered with cheese sauce, Crema de Cilantro and Potage of fresh coriander. Now those one won’t find just anywhere around here!
Or, what of “something light”? That might be his chicken tacos baked in green sauce and cheese, poblano chiles filled with spinach, Portobellos and cheese, or Tallarines Alfredo de la Casa – noodles in cream sauce with mushrooms, chicken, pars-ley, bacon and parmesan cheese. “Excelente”!
Jack’s main dishes are no less cosmopolitan. Three examples of these are filet of sole with peaches, chicken breast topped with chile strips and onions with a Poblano cheese sauce or Texas style grilled smoky pork ribs – all served with wonderful, Rosemary potatoes (no, that’s not Ms. Clooney’s maiden name!) and freshly-prepared vegetables.
His desserts are an entirely different taste treat world, be they Mexican sweet crepes, Tarta Copa Melba, a mini apple pie topped with ice cream, nuts, raisins, cinnamon and whipped cream or – and you can’t believe how delectable this is – Jack’s sweet and sour special. To try it is to understand!
Beyond one of the best arrays of fine dining available in Manzanillo, he offers a number of “Specials for Jack’s Friends” – such a creation of your own menu with a one day notice and holiday family specials – which are listed on small placards at each table.
Located directly south, across the street from Wings Army, Jack’s Bistro is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner – 9:00 am to 9:00 pm.
Tommy Clarkson is a bit of a renaissance man. He’s lived and worked in locales as disparate as the 1.2 square mile island of Kwajalein to war-torn Iraq, from aboard he and Patty’s boat berthed out of Sea Bright, NJ to Thailand, Germany, Hawaii and Viet Nam; He’s taught classes and courses on creative writing and mass communications from the elementary grades to graduate level; He’s spoken to a wide array of meetings, conferences and assemblages on topics as varied as Buddhism, strategic marketing and tropical plants; In the latter category he and Patty’s recently book, “The Civilized Jungle” – written for the lay gardener – has been heralded as “the best tropical plant book in the last ten years”; And, according to Trip Advisor, their spectacular tropical creation - Ola Brisa Gardens – is the “Number One Tour destination in Manzanillo”.