One doesn’t expect to find an oasis of relative tranquility along a corridor of Center City traffic. But Chris’ Jazz Café is just that, both on the sonic and culinary levels.
Just past the bar, a comfortable dining area with a Southern-inspired menu and a live-music stage offer refuge from the crowds and seemingly nonstop construction and road maintenance in the area.
Some of the dishes draw from outside inspiration, like the chicken spring rolls ($11), which give the familiar Chinese staple a subtle detour into Cajun country. Meanwhile, the wild-boar sausage ($16) is all Southern charm — lean and robust, with smoked apples and celery-root purée pleasantly taking the edge off the inherent gaminess of the meat.
The mac and cheese ($7) is on point, served up creamy and steaming in a cast-iron pan. It’s impossible not to love this dish, especially when you order the version studded with crab and shrimp and dusted with buttery bread crumbs ($20).
Seafood takes another star turn with the black tagliatelle ($29), a luxurious dish of squid-ink pasta with elegant flavors punctuated by tender lobster and calamari in a cream-based shrimp sauce. Given the theme of the menu, we felt no shame in soaking up the excess sauce with the side of bread.
If you’re looking to start 2019 in tasty, laidback and inviting style, take a trip downtown and down home to Chris’ Jazz Café.
If you go:
Chris’ Jazz Café
1421 Sansom St.
Mon.-Fri.: 11 a.m.-2 a.m.
Sat.: 6 p.m.-2 a.m.