Jackie M’s & Son is full of surprises. First and foremost is the Philly cheese steak. Yes, in Augusta, Georgia. Yes, a truly excellent Philly cheese steak! Let’s be frank: this part of the world is not known for its sandwich prowess — especially to those who have been spoiled by the grand hoagies, subs, and steaks of the Delaware Valley. But the sandwich at Jackie M’s has me recalibrating my geoculinary scale. It is made with a great heap of tender, thinly-sliced sirloin, cooked the right way on a flat-top alongside heat-softened onions and peppers (both of which are welcome in the sandwich) and piled into a roll from Philadelphia’s Amoroso Bakery along with melted cheese. (OK, purists, it not Whiz, it’s American.) The result is an oily, sloppy, unwieldy and unequivocally delicious sandwich.
A terrific cheese steak is just one unexpected pleasure of a visit to this friendly little sandwich shop located in an old home in a residential neighborhood. How about a soul roll? That’s a crisp-skinned Chinese-restaurant style egg roll that encloses not the usual sprouts and veggies but rather sirloin, jerk chicken, Buffalo chicken, or Philly chicken accompanied by melted cheese and sauteed onions. With creamy house-made cucumber dipping sauce, the jerk chicken roll is impossible to stop eating.
A few other menu surprises: habanero-spiked Jamaican beef patties, house-smoked turkey, and a repertoire of cheesecakes to make even layer-cake partisans swoon. The headliner, created by Chef Clint, is red velvet cheesecake. If, like me, you’ve grown tired of red velvet’s ubiquity from waffles to latte, this cheesecake just might be a culinary spiritual awakening. A cloud of white cream cheese frosting and crisp nuts atop a thick coral-colored ribbon of very chocolaty, slightly tangy and just-sweet-enough cheese, all perched atop a palate of graham cracker crust add up to one of the most completely satisfying desserts I’ve had all year.