Kathy, Jacqueline, Kyle and Graham are all girls I've wanted to take out for some time. I knew that each of them was interested in joining me for a restaurant review, but I'm pretty busy, so I asked them all out for the same evening. I figured if the hip-hop guys could go out with a posse of girls all at one time, why not me?
Seated with four beautiful young ladies, I was the envy of everyone at Jaker's Bandara Grill. After ordering a round of drinks, we settled in over the menus. Question: What do Shanghai, France, Malibu, Idaho, Omaha, California, Jamaica, Santa Fe, Santa Barbara, Asia, Kingston, London, Thailand, Mongolia, Osaka, Maui and Sicily have in common? Answer: Absolutely nothing, but that doesn't stop this South Pacific (or Caribbean?) themed restaurant from evoking each of those locations to describe menu items. I ordered the blackened chicken pasta, and two of my dates requested the prime rib, while the other two wanted chicken fingers. If you've never gone out with four dates at once, let me warn you that it can get a bit awkward. After ordering, Graham asked me why I wasn't married. She then excused herself to the bathroom and was followed immediately by the remaining girls. After a suspiciously long time, they returned, just in time to greet the merciful arrival of the entrées.
My penne pasta was predictably massive and blanketed in a "let's make America even fatter" cream sauce. For what Jaker's promises, the dinner was just fine, but in my view, no American should have access to that type of caloric load. Meanwhile, conversation at the table ranged from Johnny Depp's latest work to whether I looked more like a pirate or a clown. I promptly redirected the conversation to our task at hand. Kathy thought her chicken fingers were just "pretty good," whereas Kyle found her breaded strips to be "very good." The high maintenance girls both ordered their prime rib medium-rare. Jacqueline summed up her cut as "chewy and tender." Graham, always pensive, said her prime rib tasted "like steak." How helpful, I thought. I was going to ask some follow up questions, but they had broken into a hula dance (too much to drink). Judging by the empty plates, I concluded that they were satisfied with their meals.
Our attentive and cheery waitress was quick to offer us dessert, and we happily ordered a round of sundaes. The gals excitedly dug into their swirls of vanilla ice cream and chocolate, occasionally pausing to offer critiques like "good but small," and "wonderful whipped cream!"
With the evening at its conclusion, I pressed my companions for their opinions on the whole dining experience. Yet again, I was met with a flurry of one-word responses like "superior" and "colorful." When I insisted that I needed a more thorough assessment, Kyle reminded me that they were just in the third grade, except for Graham, who was in the fourth grade. She had a point, but Jacqueline suddenly rose to the challenge and offered that going out was best because the food was better. Kathy said anything was better than her mom's meatloaf with veggies and Graham admitted that one of the best things about going out was checking out the bathroom.
I'm not a fan of the type of food they serve at Jaker's--it's generally very heavy fare. But the kids had a blast eating while viewing the wildlife on ParkCenter Pond. The service was great, and on the whole I couldn't imagine a more satisfying night out. Thanks girls!
--Waj Nasser is the cutest pirate on the playground