Second Helpings



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Side-Dish Symphony


    It may be true that “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” (although my mother, thankfully, let my dad do all the cooking), but those who know me well are aware that I, too, can be wooed—even bribed—with food.
    “Come with me to watch the game,” says the basketball player in my life, known at his club as “OG.”
    “No thanks,” I say.
    “Come with me to watch the game. We’ll go to a restaurant. I’ll buy,” the old gangsta says.
    So it was that we ended up at Jesso’s for a meal that was memorable thanks to a combination of five ingredients: a large-screen TV; a pint of Sam Adams; a Jesso’s grilled seafood platter ($27.95), plenty big for two people; an old geezer; and, the cherry on the top, the Jazzaholics—Steve Carter on piano, Dennis Smith on bass and Al Marshall on drums. They’re an astonishing jazz trio one might expect to pay big bucks to see at Yoshi’s. And, it turns out, they play regularly at Jesso’s—for no cover charge.
    Much of the Jesso’s food is fried, and one has to wait a bit if one wants the grilled options, which we chose. But time passes quickly when the Jazzaholics are playing. The three pieces each of catfish and snapper were succulent; the sole, while a little dry, was tasty; the two pieces of salmon were very good; then there were the oysters, prawns and hushpuppies that came served on a bed of sweet and refreshing raw cabbage. It was enough to give one a stomach for the game and to have one shouting for more.
Jesso’s Seafood. 4 p.m.–1 a.m. Wed.–Sat.; 3 p.m.–11 p.m. Sun.-Mon., 901 Washington St.; (510) 451-1561, www.jessos.com.
—Wanda Hennig

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