Article by Fitz
Lead photo- Assorted tacos and pellizcadas from Jessy’s at the Ghent location
Yes yes yes yes YES! The new Jessy’s food lives up to the hype and brings a bit of that FOR REAL Mexican cuisine that used to only reside in B.F.E., O.V. to us Ghentonites. Before anyone says, “Hold up, what about Tortilla West?” Listen, I get it, they have cheap tacos there that are pretty good. It’s a cool place. Hell, Chef Kevin Ordonez at Alkaline told me it was one of his three favorite places to eat in Norfolk. But follow me on this:
Having tacos at T-West is sorta like pounding a case of Corona Extra ― lime in the neck ― with Jimmy Buffett in Acapulco. Sure it’s actually going to be pretty fun. You’re going to get wasted. Shit, at some point Jimmy might even let you sit in the co-pilot chair of one of his planes as he whisks you off to Cabo San Lucas, Cancún, and other tourist friendly cities. You may even get a snazzy co-pilot pin. But at some point Jimmy is going to want to sing and you’re going to be reminded that this is just a lot of gringo cosplay. Plus, you never really got that true taste of Mexican cuisine and culture. Ultimately, Jimmy has the means to be a faux pirate and write shitty songs about cheeseburgers for a living. However, once you’ve puked up your 20th Corona ― the acid from the lime having worn your throat down to the point where, oddly enough, you were able to harmonize with Jimmy’s off key crooning ― you’re going to have to bid him farewell and get home to your shitty life (insert in here nagging wife, ungrateful kids, parents house and you’re 30 or whatever other crappy situation you are in).
Eating at Jessy’s, however, is sort of like being an extra on an early Robert Rodriguez movie. Check that, not an extra ’cause during your second day on set, one of the supporting actors playing an oafish uncle recently bitten by a vampire was given the boot and Robert, while bitching to one of eight executive producers saw you sneaking your 12th finger sandwich between scenes and decided you had the face for the recently vacated roll. The character, however, is based on Robert’s second uncle who lives in the city of Reynosa. Robert deems it essential that he takes you there so you can study his uncle’s mannerisms. As the two of you prepare to depart from LA you’re informed that Salma Hayek will be accompanying the two of you. Oh yeah, a young, sweet, sexy-as-all-hell Salma is joining the two of you and it seems that she’s giving you the eyes (in her case big, beautiful almond ones). In actuality, the new L’oréal eyeliner gifted to her by the company’s sales shills trying to get her to hock it for them is irritating her skin but fuck it man that was a sexy blink kind of in your direction.
Not long after landing in Reynosa, Robert, his uncle, Salma, and your ear-to-ear grinning ass are whisked tacky-80s-stretch-limo-style to the south of the city ― now with Sex Machine and Frost in toe for any potential needed protection. You step into Robert’s Uncle’s favorite establishment for tacos, concealed down a side street and you see in the back left corner behind the bar what looks like a 50’s hot-light-lit El Mariachi strumming on a vihuela. Your eyes are quickly diverted, however, to a growingly loud squabble going on across by the bathroom between a guy with a mop and a stubby bartender that you swear looks like Cheech; they seem to be yelling about somebody putting piss in beer or something but Robert has already ordered 8 lengua tacos, 6 Chorizo tacos, a round of horchatas, chips which obviously danced in some glorious lard and some seriously chunky guac.
As you bite into your corn lingua taco a bit of that beefy greasiness dribbles down the side of your mouth. Salma, oh sweet Salma, takes her finger and wipes your chin, staring longingly in your eyes. Turns out that the uncle you’re playing in the flick dies protecting the heroine Salma is playing and she’s just practicing for the role but you don’t know that shit. Salma just caressed your cheek.
Yeah, it’s kinda like that for me at Jessy’s. So if you want some non gringo-fied Mexican bites hit up Jessy’s in OV or the New Jessy’s on Tuesday’s and Thursdays in Ghent. You’ll taste the difference.
Every time I’ve been in T-West the average diner is in their early 20’s. So I am guessing my Buffet (Faux Pirate/ off key crooner) and Rodriguez (From Dusk Till Dawn/ Desperado director) analogy makes me an old fuck. However, it could be worse. I could be authoring an article about a tired Shrimp cocktail now available in Chelsea that is being touted as quote, “ […] bringing something new to Ghent”. That might even be more absurd than this down the rabbit hole article of mine. *wink *wink Maisey.
For more on Jessy’s Tienda y Taqueria visit them HERE
Tuesdays and Thursdays you can find Jessy’s food at 328 Tequila at 328 W 20th St in Ghent