As we settled into our table by the window, I started to hum, “Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name.” At first, I thought it was one of those random tunes that sometimes pop into my thoughts, but then I realized it was just my mind catching up to what I was observing. The waitress warmly greeted guests as they entered (some even by name), and bar patrons chatted among themselves like friends instead of strangers sitting in a row. To say the energy at this quaint bistro is welcoming is an understatement.
Believe it or not, this was my first time dining at Jimmy’s, a Swinton Avenue staple for around 14 years. Perusing the colorful chalkboard menu hanging over the bar, I noticed that many cuisines inspire chef-owner James Mills, and I’m all for it. Jimmy’s Bistro is a casual neighborhood concept with a menu that has a broad appeal. If you’re craving Asian, Latin, Italian or good ol’ American comfort food, it’s all here and more. The waitress also proudly shared that the fish arrives daily from Delray’s Captain Clay and Sons Seafood Market.
We started with the local ceviche ($24), a sizable appetizer portion with homemade chips. True to a classic ceviche, it was citrusy but had a spicy undertone that woke up my palate in the best way possible. And the red and green peppers gave it a wonderful crunch. We then traveled east with a sampling of the shao mai pork dumplings ($17). They were tender and delicate but also hearty, as they were stuffed—almost exploding—with savory pork and hints of ginger.
For entrées, we chose a voyage to Italy with the house-made rigatoni in a Bolognese sauce ($32). The two-meat pasta was the definition of comfort food. It felt like mom had made it at home, perfecting the art of al dente noodles over many years. The roasted half duck ($48) was more of a chef-driven dish that came out nicely presented on the plate, perfectly seared on the outside and juicy on the inside. It was topped with a sweet orange glaze that made the flavors pop, and I happily dunked my forkful of basmati rice into it as well.
There were only a few dessert options, but we didn’t need more after all that food. I appreciated that the sweet treats were simple; we chose the strawberry tart ($18). It was more of a deconstructed dessert with the berry compote topped with indulgent vanilla ice cream and a slim puff pastry. It was the perfect final flourish to our first dinner. Every neighborhood needs a welcoming restaurant serving consistently delightful dishes from a diverse menu, and downtown Delray is lucky to have just that at Jimmy’s Bistro.
IF YOU GO
9 S. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach; 561/865-5774
PARKING: Street parking/lots nearby
HOURS: Sun.–Thurs., 5–9 p.m.; Fri.–Sat., 5-10 p.m.