Chef Kenny Gilbert has a great bio/resume, and I encourage those of you reading this to go the web site and take a look. I was first introduced to Chef Gilbert on Top Chef season 7 and followed him the entire time. When I learned he was opening a restaurant in my location I was over the moon. But alas the best laid plans and all that tripe, he moved on before I was able to make the voyage to sample his food. Well the stars aligned and he is back in my area a mere 78 mile round trip but who cares. I was not going to blow it this time. I gathered up two of my favorite food explorers and off we went to Sunday brunch. The space is what appears to be a remodeled small house, not what I was expecting, so I spun right past it and had to go around the block. Once inside, it is a cross between causal southern and shabby sheek. A few tables up front, couch space to sit while you wait for your table or just to have a glass of wine or Sangria and the host desk. There are additional tables once you pass through the double doors, as well as outside space. I did ask and the space outside is dog friendly, but make sure and ask again.
I had taken the time to preview the menu on-line so I knew what my choices would be, well until I looked around at what the other diners were having. Please note dishes are served family style, good for families and better for foodies. We can order tons of food and share. As always we started with wine and Sangria while we decided.
Our first choice was the Deviled Egg Parfait. Our server explained it is served layered in the parfait glass. When it arrived it was more like a deconstructed dish, the egg was separated and mixed together with a tasty dressing, then layered into the glass, topped with Tasso Ham, Onion Jam and Redneck Caviar ( a dollop of Whole Grain Mustard) with beautiful toasted slices of country bread. Presentation was outstanding. This brings a whole level of newness to the egg experience, between the 3 of us we emptied the glass.
Next up Shrimp and Grits, this is one of my all time favorite dishes and I try it any time I see it on the menu. The shrimp is local as are most of the produce used in the restaurant. The garnish a Black Pepper Queso with oven dried tomatoes and crispy Andouille it was a delightful dish, but a little bland for me. I would certainly order this again but request my shrimp be blackened.
One of the dishes I was curious about the Southern Noodles, the pasta is bucatini at thicker pasta with a small hole that runs done the length of the shaft. The gift of this meal was the dressing A collard green pesto, yes collard greens!!! This was mixed with halved fingerlings potatoes, green beans and Cotija Cheese. I wanted not to share this on any level you can think of. One of the best pasta dishes I ever remember eating. Thankfully I did not see I could have added Crispy Pork Belly; that may have been my demise, but a happy one.
Well we still were not done, so how about the Chicken Sliders, covered in a Jack Daniels Honey Mustard sauce, spicy pickled onions and greens. I almost cried when I saw pieces of romanesco cauliflower in the mix, house potato salad. This chef is a saint.
Having exhausted our wants we moved on desires, first up, Coca Cola Chocolate Bread pudding/sour cream chocolate icing/dried cherry preserves and just in case a side of soft ice cream. Add to that Della’s Sweet Potato Pie Turnover/ buttermilk glaze/ blackberries and more soft ice cream.
So no need to ask, I would make the 78 mile round trip any day of the week to return and dine here. They do offer a Charcuterie Board of the day on the dinner menu, Beef Short Ribs and GA Berkshire Pork Belly. That in self will bring me back. I would advise reservations, due to size.
Here’s to you Chef Gilbert…….