Hosting friends from out-of-state, especially those that travel internationally, can be a bit challenging. They’ve seen and done it all and enjoyed fine cuisine at some of the world’s best restaurants. I was pleasantly surprised when a Mississippi friend-turned Dallas resident proclaimed the food and ambiance at Jackson’s Char created one of her favorite dining experiences.
Located just off I-55 N at the intersection of Northside Drive in Highland Village, Char’s seafood, steaks, creative salads, and desserts have put this once-local restaurant on the Mississippi cuisine map and into neighboring states. Decorated with touches of color, rich woodwork, and historic photos featuring famous Mississippians and special guests from over the years, Char is a pleasant, friendly place at which to dine.
As my out-of-town friend and I were seated, I pointed out classic Char dishes like no-filler crab cakes, Sin City barbecue shrimp, and, one of my favorites, ginger peanut chicken salad. After selecting the daily special of fried chicken with homemade sides of black-eyed peas and cornbread dressing, my Dallas friend stated she felt like she was truly home.
Char has extensive lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch menus. Here is a brief overview of each one.
For lunch, dishes like award-winning seafood gumbo ($5 cup, $8 bowl), fried green tomatoes ($9) and fried, marinated, or sautéed crab claws ($16) are a great way to get the meal started.
Char, Caesar, and wedge salads are $8, while my favorite ginger peanut chicken is $15.
There’s also the Char burger ($13), Maytag bleu burger ($16), Beefeater ($12), and tuna melt ($16), among other burgers and sandwiches. Each one is served with house-cut fries.
Char’s featured items include pan-seared Atlantic salmon ($16), chopped steak ($14), fried chicken ($13), and 8-ounce filet ($34). Entrees are served with a selection of Char’s delicious homemade sides.
Daily specials rotate and include meatloaf, baked and fried chicken, short ribs, chicken and dumplings, red beans and rice, roast beef, roasted turkey, and fried catfish. Served with two sides, specials range from $11 to $13.
You can’t leave without sampling a slice of Char’s famous house-made pecan pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. At $8.50, it’s a bit pricey, but well worth the splurge. Other desserts include pecan caramel butter crunch, fudge brownie and blueberry bread pudding ($6-$7.50).
Modeled after a Chicago-style steakhouse, it’s no wonder Char offers a full lineup of steaks in the evening. Selections include the filet ($34/$51), original cowboy ribeye ($54), New York strip ($49), and ribeye ($36).
Fresh seafood is also plentiful in the evening, ranging from pan-seared or grilled redfish ($28), blackfish ($29), chargrilled Mahi ($30), to pan-seared salmon ($26). There’s also veal Oscar ($29), range chicken ($23), chicken piccata ($22), and pork chop ($28).
If weekend brunch is on your list, a stop by Char is in order. You’ll find many of the appetizers, salads, and dishes offered during the week, with the addition of several special egg offerings, ranging from classic eggs, crab or steak Benedict ($13-$15) along with several specialty brunch dishes. These include croquet madame ($12), chicken and waffle ($12), crawfish, crab, and andouille sausage creole sauté ($13) along with a variety of chicken and seafood dishes. Specials ranging from pecan tenders to ham with specialty sides are also on the brunch menu, topped off by Char’s famous desserts.
Char is located at 4500 I-55 N in Jackson. Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday; until 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.