There was a time in the early 2000s that we "discovered" Jerry's State Court Cafe. That's when it was actually on State Street, when it had a hipster, diner vibe as a place to nurse a hangover or plot a revolution, or order a plate of huevos rancheros, bottomless coffee and keep your sunglasses on.
Unfortunately all that came to an end three years ago, when the property owner decided to mow down the entire block to make way for another dollar store. Jerry's, a Boise institution for half a century, was screwed.
But Jerry's rose from the dead in July in an old Elmer's Restaurant building on Fairview. From the corner booth, the place looks like any other generic pancake joint, packed with seniors ogling the abundant senior citizen specials.
Our meal got off to a poor start with the burnt coffee arriving a full five minutes after we'd sat down. I'm down to one cup a day, so I drank it, but I was not happy.
We had to ask three times for waters all around. My brother-in-law, in town for Thanksgiving, pointed out that the glasses were spotted. Though not a professional restaurant critic, my brother-in-law is one of the most critical people I know.
He liked the spicy sausage, but his eggs looked liked they'd been sitting under a heat lamp for a good 15 minutes.
I ordered the huevos rancheros ($8.50), hoping for some nostalgia. Instead, I got an uninspired plate of eggs and canned beans on top of a tortilla. There was some red mole smooshed in there somewhere, but barely enough to register.
My wife's Benedict ($5.95, half order, thank god) also suffered from a serious lack of sauciness. By the time I got a bite, there was just a little schmear of hollandaise left. Not that it mattered, because the English muffin was untoasted and the ham was thinner than a bowl of potato soup during a potato famine.
I looked enviously at an old guy eating a pretty fat-looking omelet--a pesto chicken omelet--he told me between bites.
A week later, I dragged myself back to Jerry's for lunch and ended up with a creative, edible sandwich, aptly named the jalopy ($8.50): a fat stack of sliced ham, lettuce, tomato, Swiss and a surprise layer of grilled onions and peppers all dripping with a slightly spicy ranch-like sauce.
I gobbled it up, using several paper napkins to wipe up the mess. Then I realized my jalopy was missing one ingredient: They forgot the bacon. But since bacon reminded me of my breakfast at Jerry's, I didn't say anything.
Nathaniel Hoffman's voracious appetites are rarely interrupted by foodstuffs. But sometimes ...
Boise Weekly sends two reviewers to every restaurant we review. Read what our other reviewer had to say about Jerry's State Court Cafe.