1198 HOWELL MILL RD, ATLANTA, 30318
As a foodie I am ashamed to say I have never tried a lobster roll. So for the next Hungry Lens blog I knew I needed to check this off my list. I did a little research and JCT Kitchen is known to have one of the best in the city, along with some of the best fried chicken as well. They only serve their lobster rolls on the weekend, so I knew I had to make a stop by on a Saturday afternoon.
JCT Kitchen sits in the heart of Westside Urban Market, a block of restaurants and shops on the Westside of Midtown. I was not very familiar with this area but it was quite cute and had a very strong community feel to it. Walking into JCT Kitchen you are immediately taken back by the southern charm of this place. The deep rich wooden floors and the cream paneled walls gave this place a warm cozy feeling with a modern twist. The small white tables and big cushiony booths let families and couples have an intimate dining experience. I loved the white brick accents throughout the restaurant. The walls lined with window let the beautiful summer sun illuminate the room. I loved the overall feel of the place. It reminded me of a small southern quaint home in Savannah. Also, JCT has a separate bar located upstairs from the restaurant that I hear is a go-to spot on the weekends.
Our waitress Beverly was great! She came out with a smile on her face and promptly took our order. She checked on us throughout the service and made sure we had everything we needed. She went above and beyond to make our dining experience great and I truly enjoyed myself.
Of course I came here on a mission: to try my first lobster roll. I decided to switch out the fries for the home-made mac & cheese because you guys already know I am a mac & cheese addict. The company I was with decided to order the fried chicken so we could try that out as well (it is rumored to be one of the best in the city).
The lobster roll came out looking magical. It was stuffed to the brim with huge chunks of rich lobster meat covered in a creamy, thick mayonnaise based coating. The lobster was so sweet and fresh and the freshly baked roll was to die for! The herbs on top and a squeeze of lemon made this a perfect flavor balance in my mouth. The slaw was so light and refreshing with the crisp cabbage and the sour bite from the apple. This lobster roll was everything I imagined. Although I had never had one before this, I can imagine that this truly is one the best in the city. I am officially turned into a lobster roll lover!
Next comes the mac & cheese. This mac and cheese was so rich and creamy it melted in my mouth. I am not sure what types of cheese they use but they definitely use the good stuff. Whatever it is, I need the secret recipe ASAP. I have a suspicion it involves white cheddar. This was some of the BEST mac & cheese I have ever had. My only regret is that I did not get a second bowl.
Now, onto the fried chicken. First of all, just the portion of chicken they give you is mind blowing. I had high hopes because I heard this is supposed to be some of the best fried chicken in Atlanta, and they did not let me down. I have never had fried chicken with the flavor profile of this. The texture and flavor of the crisp coating was something that is quite hard to describe. It was rich, succulent, and you could tell this was not made with your typical batter. The chicken was tender and juicy. I can see why it has gotten its amazing reputation. Our waitress said the secret to their chicken is they double batter it (flour, batter, flour again, and finally batter last). The greens that accompanied the chicken were also great. They were very tender and full of salty pork flavor. I highly suggest you check out the fried chicken at JCT Kitchen!
Lastly, we ordered a side of cornbread muffins. I have never really been a fan of cornbread, maybe it is because I am from up North but these were actually pretty good. They were fluffy and flavorful but my favorite part of this dish was the serrano pepper butter. This added the perfect kick to the muffin to put it over the top.
The price at JCT Kitchen may seem a bit higher than other places I have visited. The fried chicken is $16 and the lobster roll is market price. Sides are around $5 each. To some it may seem a bit much to pay $16 for fried chicken, but you are paying for a large amount of food and some of the best food in the city, so to me it is worth it.
Based on all of the following criteria discussed above I give JCT Kitchen an A. The atmosphere won me over with its Southern charm, the service was great, the food was off the chain and lived up to all of my expectations (the mac and cheese alone!), and the price is worth it in my opinion for the quality you are going to get. I highly suggest you check out JCT Kitchen for some amazing Southern food!