Ladies Who Brunch

Bar Brunch at The Southern by Benjamin
May 20, 2010, 5:14 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

A couple of highlights from the recently revamped restaurant (whoo!) in the former Chaise Lounge space.  I would say their attempts at a vaguely Southern vibe are half-hearted, but then, “The South” is too nebulous a concept to bring thematic cohesion to a restaurant.  The food, like the atmosphere, was pleasant but not particularly authentic or world-shaking.

Laughing Bird Shrimp, Grits, Hot Sauce

Chef Cary Taylor does earn major points for selecting quality ingredients for each plate.  We loved Shrimp and Grits pushed just over the top with grits from Three Sisters in Kankakee and plump blue prawns.  Finished with sweet piquillo peppers and a buttery, spicy sauce, they were a welcome indulgence.

Charleston Benedict

We’ve already established that it’s hard to go wrong with crab cakes at brunch.  The Southern mixes it up with mustard Hollandaise and apple, but we could have used some bolder flavors.

Southern Ma'am

The American South possessed an older and more richly developed food culture than any other region in the country, and it sometimes seems like a wholly indigenous cuisine.  But much of the best Southern cooking is ultimately informed by the Old World, by Africa (by way of the Caribbean), Spain,  and especially in Louisiana, by France.   The Southern Ma’am is kind of a pan-Southern homage to the influence of French cooking, tasso ham and pulled pork wedded to Brioche and Mournay sauce.  A more-thinly sliced brioche would have been welcome, as the thick toast overwhelmed the porky filling, but otherwise an accomplished breakfast sandwich.  I mean, it’s sitting under a runny egg yoke covered in liquefied swiss cheese and bechamel.  While other, more sophisticated diners than I might not be so easily fooled, I must say I will forgive any manner of culinary sin if it’s covered up with melted cheese.


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