I wanted it to be good, I really did. I wanted the food and the ambiance and the drinks and everything to be really good. I wanted it to be our neighborhood go to spot. I really wanted it to be all these things, but on this night, it just wasn’t to be.
I’d been to Jezebel’s before, about a year ago. We both arrived in Cleveland about the same time. I was feeling a little homesick for the po’ boy from Where Ya At Matt. The sandwich was good for sure, and I had full intentions of going back. It took me longer than I thought, but I was excited to sit down and check out more of the options on the menu.
It started well with a really strong and tasty Hurricane and I was thinking it was going to be a good night. The mussels hit the table and a smile formed on my face. They smelled good, and looked pretty good, despite the thick drizzle of what turned out to be some sort of Cajun remoulade. But that’s where things took a turn in the wrong direction. The mussels were dry and shriveled like they had been sitting under a heat lamp for a good twenty minutes. They were chewy, and lacked a lot of flavor. The broth had some good flavor, but the two small slices were hardly enough to soak up the little bit in the bottom.
While disappointed, I was still hopeful for the étouffée and Ashley’s delicious sounding tilapia with lump crab. And while there was spice to the étouffée, the dominant flavor seemed to b tomato which surprised me. It was different than the crawfish étouffée from Pappadeaux’s that is still one of the best things I’ve had. It was good, but not “oh wow”. However, compared to Ashley’s dish, it was stellar. One bite of the tilapia, and we knew it wasn’t coming together. Tilapia is a pretty delicate, unforgiving fish, and that was evident here. It was cooked a few minutes short of tilapia jerky. It was probably done before it went in the oven, then was set out under a heat lamp. The crab lacked sweetness and the sauce was stale. Even the veggies and rice were just off.
I had planned to order another drink and get some dessert, but after the performance of the entrees and the look of disappointment from across the table, I decided to just get the check and head to Presti’s for an evening saving dessert and coffee. I really wanted it to be good, and tried to convince myself it was good, but it just wasn’t. I’ll probably go back and have a po’ boy, but it will probably be on my own. I really hate to do it, but based on this meal I wouldn’t recommend Jezzie’s to anyone. Sure, check it out on Fat Tuesday, have a hurricane that will knock you on your butt, but stick to the sandwiches.