Oh my god I've had 26 cupcakes in the last 2 months..and counting.. I don't even know why, I never even eat Cupcakes in vancouver!? major cupcake post to come..
I've never had southern home cooking before and always wanted to. Good ol fried chicken with a side of buttery mashed potatoes.. that's all I really know and how can you go wrong really? I don't know much about this type of food but if it's anyone who was going to cook me some southern food, who else better than Art Smith. I don't remember much about him from Top Chef, just that he was really happy jolly guy.. :)
The restaurant off elm street did not fit in to its surroundings. It was a small white building with touches of green and the number 52 on the front. next to this was a empty grass ridden lot, and a ton of tall apartments. On the corner was a Popeyes and an old man selling knock off handbags. Walking into the restaurant, we were transported to a whole different world.
Dark with sunlight coming in from the windows, the white and green with the wood fire oven in the back created an extremely cozy atmosphere. The plates were absolutely gorgeous and the room was also decorated with paintings of singers with upbeat music playing in the back. Right when we sat down, we had about 3 different waiters serve us water, deviled eggs, and goat cheese biscuit to start. It was a little overwhelming at first, seeing all these staff running around, but they all flowed with each other.. that's a weird thing to say, but the service all worked together and it was really attentive.
We ordered the duo crab cake to start for 16 dollars, and I had the salmon, friends had fried chicken and sweet potatoes and cornbread, and the other had the fish of the day.. which was striped bass I believe.
The deviled egg was very creamy, a nice little appy to start, and the goat cheese biscuit was soft and cheesy. That was nice, since I have grown a fondness for goat cheese..Last week, I sat in on a cheese tasting and sampled at least 30 AMAZING cheeses (mostly goat), and wow.. talk about mega cheese overload coming from a girl who usually buys the cheapest mixed cheese at superstore. I felt so fat after I walked for 3 hours.
Our crab cake was alright.. a little expensive for what we ordered.. but they were good nonetheless. I don't have much to say about this one, but I guess I could have done without. Our mains arrive and my salmon was SOO delicious. I asked for medium rare and it was perfectly cooked. Perfect! it was like butter, the fish. and the blueberry sauce added the sweetness it needed and the vegetables that came along were soo fresh it was amazing. Friends had no complaints on their dishes.. I will comment the sweet potatoes were a little too sweet (syrupy) for me but the cornbread was HEAVEN. it was sweet, warm, crumbly.. yum!!
Dishes were swooped away and we were presented by the desserts menu. The pecan pie and hummingbird cake looked great, but alas no room in my little belly. We were given little marshmallow sweet potato pie that was a nice little after thought to our dinner.
My friend, who was from Texas, had no complaints to this dinner. She said the dishes all reminded her of southern home cooking, and the fried chicken was quite good, but not as good as her mothers :)
The ambience, service, food, all transported me to a different time and place..it's rare to find a restaurant that good, but I think art smith did it for me. Good way to end my Chicago summer, home soon..