Southern Up NorthTuesday, May 01, 2012
After alllll that has been written about Southern food in NYC the last...five years especially...I thought it would be interesting to take a minute to see how some of the restaurants define themselves and what they offer that makes them stand out.
Seersucker: the NYT said, "It’s urbane, soft spoken and modern, the kind of place where actual residents of Chapel Hill, Nashville or Birmingham might go on a Saturday night."
Most Interesting: not sure, but this sounds good: black pepper ricotta dumplings -- Ozark country ham, market nettles, Georgia olive oil, NY ramps. Oh, and apparently GQ wrote that Seersucker is "the perfect place for your NASCAR appetite to meet your NPR lifestyle."
SoCo, which describes itself as "Southern Fusion, a new cuisine yet to make its mark on the New York dining scene. The group describes southern fusion as a mixture of cajun/creole, barbecue and soul food dreamt up with everything else you can imagine."
Most interesting: organic buttermilk fried chicken over *red velvet waffles*
The Redhead: they quote NYM's Adam Platt, ". . .southern-fried cooking, in its greasy, queasy glory, is all the rage…where former New Orleans chef Meg Grace has concocted a recession-friendly menu…" Greasy and queasy, though, Adam? That doesn't sound especially good.
Most interesting: bacon peanut brittle that can be shipped to your home. Also, they do crawfish boils and have the good sense to offer Abita.
Peaches HotHouse: "the HotHouse features great Southern regional classics such as Shrimp and Grits, Oyster Po’ Boys, Gumbo and Black Eyed Peas with Country Ham. The main event will be Nashville Style Hot Chicken!"
Most interesting: they put a piece of extra spicy fried chicken on top of a hamburger and call it "The Booker T.". Really.
Bobwhite Lunch and Supper Counter: "as bobwhites began to disappear, sadly so did some of the flavors that made the South special. But with the renewed interest in local, seasonal and sustainable food we can hope to bring back some of those special flavors..."
Most interesting: serving their grandmother's tomato pudding, recipe here.
Lowcountry: "comfort food inspired from the lowcountry region of the American South, in particular, the coastal regions of the Carolinas and Georgia"
Most interesting: their 'Breakfast in a Jar' which is Stone Ground Grits, Goat Cheese, Soft Poached Egg, Candied Bacon
Hill Country Chicken: "inspired by its founder’s childhood memories and his passion for the Texas-style home cooking of his mother and grandmothers, Betty and Momma Els"
Most interesting: No big surprises...other than that you can order a box of wine ("...and let's have a $14 box of Bandit, please." The 'house' box of wine is $24) to go with your supper.
Southern Hospitality BBQ: "The phrase "Southern Hospitality" has always had the idea that people of the South are particularly warm and welcoming and use proper local etiquette - calling one "Sir" or "Ma'am," opening doors for ladies, inviting one to their home, and the like. At our restaurant "Southern Hospitality" takes on that philosophy and more..."
Most interesting: nothing really, other than that a half-rack of ribs and two sides are $22.95.
Tipsy Parson: "lemon-cornmeal pancakes...Fudge Farm's country ham with biscuits & gravy…poached eggs atop a crock of creamy, stone-ground grits from South Carolina. We promise you won’t go home hungry."
Most interesting: they've got the deviled eggs and fried pickles and fried green tomatoes, and who among us wouldn't be happy to serve their spread trio: pimento cheese, deviled tasso, and black-eyed pea salad with housemade herb crackers?
The Commodore fits in here somehow, and so does Char No. 4, with its "over 150 American whiskeys and...a menu of American fare with a focus on smoked meat."
And let us not forget in a discussion of Southern food up north, Sylvia's, Amy Ruth's (which has a dish named after the President and another after Afrika Bambaataa), and Billie's Black (site plays music).
Southern food in NY is a conversation that can go on a long time, although the idea of meat and threes, not so much.
Meanwhile, I'll continue to enjoy sopping my cornbread in potlikker pretty much any time I like; here, from lunch at the Davis Cafe in Montgomery: