Jethro’s Fine Grub has developed quite the name for itself, even garnering a visit from the “Triple D Man” himself, Guy Fieri with Diners Drive-Ins and Dives. I’m sad to say, I wish I could agree with Guy, but I can’t. For me, Jethro’s was not quite so fine grub.
I went with the Brunch Blog Boss and the Young Sir early on a Thursday morning. I arrived first, and asked for a table for three. There was a table for four available and several two seat settings (there are eight tables in total at the original Dunbar location). I was informed I couldn’t have a table without a full seating. That isn’t an unusual policy on a weekend, but found it a little odd at nine in the morning on a weekday. The table for four lay empty the whole ten minutes I stood outside on a cool drizzling day.
It was not an auspicious start to our meal. I should mention that the Young Sir is an experienced foodie. He’s used to trying different places with his Mum. He knew right off the bat we were all ordering different dishes, and he couldn’t dig in until the pictures were taken. I don’t think he had a problem with the service, because the kid at the table got the best service out of the three of us.
As I said, we all ordered differently. I ordered the two eggs and meat. As usual, I ordered my eggs poached soft. They were more like medium, with very little yolk to bleed over my hash browns. The bacon was the best item on the plate; crispy, flavourful, exactly what diner bacon should be. The accompanying rye toast was good, but dry. I’m not sure if there was more than a sprinkling of butter on it… somewhere.
The Young Sir ordered the Baked Potato Omelette. He enjoyed it, but it just seemed to me like it was everything on my plate, but with the eggs done differently. The omelette didn’t so much as look like an omelette as looked like a potato and bacon taco made with an egg shell.
Now, here’s where the issue of service comes up. The waitress came back to see if he wanted jam for his toast. At least that’s what I was told. I missed it, because I was probably writing these notes, and she didn’t address the table. I would have liked jam, but no one asked me. I have a real bee in my bonnet about service. I think it’s the cornerstone of any business. It’s was quite underwhelming on this visit. I suppose I should cut the young woman some slack, she was looking after the entire floor on her own, but still, from the very beginning, it just didn’t feel like a welcoming place, and not checking in with the whole table doesn’t help.
I’m leaving the most disappointing for last; the Brunch Blog Boss’ Hog Tied Pancake. Two fluffy pancakes loaded with a full side of bacon baked in and griddled crispy. It’s served with whipped butter and maple syrup.
Unfortunately, the bottom of the top pancake was burnt so when she cut in, it wouldn’t cut and so she had to strip the rest of the pancake off of it. The second, plate side, pancake was perfect. I can’t imagine that the cook didn’t know, but somehow, it made it to the table, which was inexcusable. The pancake she did eat was light and fluffy as advertised; everything a diner pancake should be.
In all fairness, Jethro’s Fine Grub has a strong following. The restaurant is known for generous portions at reasonable prices. It’s the kind of place that you’ll never leave from feeling hungry.
It took me over a week to sit down and write this blog post because I don’t like to write something negative about a place that so many do love. I want to support the local eateries. It’s a tough town to make it, and I know that no one sets out to serve a poor meal. Sometimes restaurants just lose their way. That’s what it felt like at Jethro’s Fine Grub.
I’m a big fan of a great diner breakfast. With Deacon’s Corner now in Kitsilano there’s a choice, and after this meal, I know which one I’ll be choosing.
Movie Recommendation: Jupiter Ascending (2015) starring Channing Tatum, and Mila Kunis, because it’s just not that satisfying either.
3420 Dunbar and 3455 Fraser St
Open for brunch 8 am to 4 pm, daily.
Michelle Muldoon is a writer, filmmaker, and avid foodie. You can find her on twitter @chat2michelle.