OC Review: Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern, Dana Point

Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern, Dana Point (photos by Brad A. Johnson)

Waiters parade past us with armfuls of food. “Ooh, that looks good,” someone says, pointing to burger that stands six inches tall, with a gigantic onion ring layered between its bun. “Ooh, look at that,” another says, excitedly pulling my sleeve as the fried chicken comes through. “Or how about those? We have to get some of those,” I say, as the deviled eggs rush past. “Dibs on that!” says the cocky one in my party who is first to spot the prime rib.

Although open less than two months, Jimmy’s has quickly become the hottest restaurant in South County. It’s the brainchild of David Wilhelm, the restaurateur who previously introduced Orange County to French 75, Chat Noir and, long before that, El Torito Grill. He has always been a master at creating ambience…

The menu reads like a roster of greatest hits – more than 20 starters, more than 20 mains. That’s a lot to sift through, but there are several great ways to start. The deviled eggs are exactly what you might expect them to be, with the added bonus of a sliced jalapeño on top. The warm beer and cheese dip also lives up to its classic expectation, a no-nonsense game-day snack that washes down perfectly with an ice-cold beer.

The beer-battered onion rings are cut decadently thick. The kitchen sometimes pulls the onions out of the fryer too soon, not letting them get properly crispy and golden. But other times they’re absolutely perfect.

On each of my several visits, the servers have always presented the check before ever asking us if we want dessert or coffee. I wonder why that is. Could it be that they…

mu0wqz-b781187577z.120131001205919000guj1g4icl.1Buffalo-style meatballs (photo by Eugene Garcia, OC Register)


This is obviously just a synopsis. Want more? You can read my full review and see the star rating along an extensive slide show by photographer Eugene Garcia in this week’s OC Register. Subscriptions are required. We don’t give away our work for free at the newsstand, and we don’t give it away for free online, either. If you don’t want to subscribe, you can simply buy a Day Pass — cheaper than a cup of coffee — for 24-hour access to the entire OC Register archive. I invite you to follow me and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

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