We first attempted to eat at Willa Jean last Friday, August 21st, but when we walked in the restaurant was packed. This is obviously a good sign, so we promptly decided to make reservations for the following Friday, August 28th. Having heard and read rave reviews, we looked forward to the experience of John Besh’s latest project.
For our appetizers we chose to share two dishes. Our waiter suggested the new Boiled Shrimp dish, and the classic Pigs in a Blanket. The boiled shrimp were clean, light and very tasty and with the spicy cocktail sauce, they were a hit with the table. With lemons, microgreens and a few other garnishes, this dish was delicious. The pigs in a blanket were also great. With a Dijon mustard dip, the pigs were cooked perfectly and wrapped in a soft, but crunchy blanket. We definitely recommend trying both of these appetizers on your next visit.
We had a tough time choosing entrees because there were so many great options. Eventually, we went with the following: The Club sandwich with an egg on top, Kale caesar salads with garlic croutons, cauliflower and parmesan, and the Grains, Legumes, Almond and zesty vinaigrette salad with Wahoo fish on top. We also ordered two sides of the mac and cheese. The club sandwich was delicious, especially because the avocado made it rich and creamy. The egg on top was a great addition as well. The kale caesar salads were light, refreshing and extremely tasty. The grains & legumes salad with wahoo was jam packed with all the right proteins. The light dressing did not overpower any of the flavors coming from the grains and legumes, which included black eyed peas and what I believe to be pine nuts. The wahoo was perfectly cooked, flakey and did not taste too fishy.
Finally, the winner of the day was the mac and cheese. With perfectly cooked elbow noodles and savory cheese throughout, this dish was jam packed with rich flavor. The top of the cheese was baked and had a bit of a crunch to it, which varied the textures and really took this side dish to the next level. While we recommend all of the dishes we had, you will miss out if at you do not try the mac and cheese.
For desserts we split three different dishes. The brownie, the chocolate chip cookie, and the cinnamon roll. The brownie was my favorite, especially because I have a weakness for rich, decadent chocolate and safe to say, it did not disappoint. You could taste the freshness of each dessert, like they just came out of the oven. Their desserts were rich with flavors, and they along with some fresh coffee drinks, ended our lunch on a perfect note.
When we arrived, we were seated immediately. More than one staff member remembered us from our quick visit last week, which shows real passion about the restaurant and its patrons. Once seated, our waiter approached us promptly. Our waiter, Hector was fantastic. As soon as we sat down, he came over and poured us all water out of a glass carafe, which was left on the table. He came by intermittently throughout the meal to top off our glasses, not waiting until they were empty to refill. He was certainly on point. Hector gave us suggestions for both appetizers and knew the menu perfectly when we had questions about various items. Our appetizers arrived promptly, were cleared timely, and entrees brought out all at the same time, factors I see as important in running a high quality restaurant. Not only did Hector contribute to our experience, but he made the meal flawless and effortless. We expect all of the servers to have the same cheerful attitude and presence. Service was certainly an A+!
Great food, great atmosphere, definitely going to visit for the breakfast and dinner as well! Cheers!