Chronicle editor Brandon Watson thought returning fried chicken spot J.T. Youngblood’s would be a sure restaurant bet, but in actuality, it isn’t 100 percent there yet. There is the all-star team (Lenoir's Jeffrey Duplechan, Jeffrey Weinberger of the original Jeffrey's), the nostalgia of the old Texas chain, a comfortable setting that is casual and fun, fried chicken, but all of that isn’t enough for the Mueller restaurant.
While the fried chicken is good ("juicy whether cooked rotisserie over an oak fire or fried with a well-seasoned crust") and most of the sides are great, the restaurant still suffers from, well, restaurant problems.
Based on his visits, J.T. Youngblood’s suffered from uneven service to food inconsistencies, like his varying mac and cheese experiences, which he did generally enjoy:
The white mac & cheese is a sophisticated take with a butter cracker crumb and a hint of rosemary, but a classic version with sharp cheddar might have served the populist tendencies of the restaurant better [...] I ordered the mac three times; the spirals were only cooked to the desired al dente once. On one visit, I had Cholula ready to spice up the previously bland Hoppin' John, only to find it unnecessary.
But, hey, that isn't enough to stop Watson from ducking into Youngblood’s often for quick and easy lunches, and he did note that mistakes were always corrected promptly. J.T. Youngblood's just needs to settle into the right grove.
- Restaurant Review: J.T. Youngblood’s [Chronicle]