Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Something Southern on the West Side

We had a birthday to celebrate last week so the husband and I decided to take our son and daughter-in-law to SoHo Kitchen and Bar. The new Ohio City spot with the Southern accent has only been open since Nov. 17, and this was a first visit for us all. Definitely won’t be the last.

(By the way: it might seem to some that I write about this neighborhood often. Don't blame me. I'm not showing favoritism. It's just that so much has been happening in the area around the West Side Market lately. The district has become one of our most exciting dining destinations on either side of the river.)

Since toasts were on the agenda, drinks were essential. SoHo has an intriguing list of specialty cocktails. The only problem was choosing … and then convincing everyone else to give me a taste. On the table were the most excellent and seriously strong Corpus Christi made with moonshine (white unaged whiskey), tomato water, lime and hot sauce, topped with pickled veggies on stick and a salted rim; the fruity Coral Gables, mix of tequila, passion fruit, fresh orange juice, and pomegranate grenadine (dangerously easily going down); and the Savannah with tea-infused vodka, honey lemonade and hibiscus syrup that had me thinking sunshine, porch swings and summer sipping. Happily, though there will be no porches or swings, there will be seating outside for about 40 when the warm (I mean really show some skin warm, not just unseasonably, leave your mittens at home mild) weather returns. The husband chose a South Carolina IPA-RJ Racker’s Bell Ringer from the great list of microbrews that’s nicely organized by type.

Every table gets fluffy buttermilk biscuits (one per person) on the house. We slathered on the sea salted honey butter and apple-berry preserves and disappeared them embarrassingly fast. Luckily, the starters we ordered to share came soon after, but we devoured them quickly too, right down to the last crumb and crumble because one bite kept leading to another. It’s hard to take it slow when stuff is this good. See for yourself: Get the Pimento Cheese Dip with fresh BBQ chips or the S'uthern Snacks, a board of artisanal cheeses, shavings of country ham, the fine Surryano American prosciutto from Edwards & Sons, with pickled pluots (apricot plum hybrid), which Chef/owner Nolan Konkoski brines in vinegar, orange juice, cinnamon and a bit of Creole mustard.

I then moved on to, and loved, his duck gumbo with shrimp andouille, okra (done perfectly, no glueyness) and rice plus crawfish and crab fritters with spicy slaw. I also sampled shrimp and grits; buttermilk-fried chicken and sweet potato waffles, sloshed in bourbon maple syrup; and a bite of catfish Po' Boy with hot pepper remoulade. Stuffed but not daunted, we shared a plate of small beignets with dark chocolate and blackberry jam and pecan pie with bourbon-brown butter ice cream.

They are currently only serving dinner Tuesday through Saturday but will be adding Sunday brunch beginning Jan. 15 and Friday and Saturday lunches later in the month. Konkoski told me he’ll be starting monthly whiskey dinners in February, most likely on Monday evenings, throughout the year. I, for one, can hardly wait for these additional opportunities to enjoy his cooking and the special Southern hospitality he and partner Molly Smith have brought to us here on the north coast.


Simone said...

I agree whole heartedly, SoHo is a delightful addition to Ohio City, let alone anywhere for that matter. The design of the space, the libations, and the cuisine are a welcome change. I for one, will definitely be returning often. Thank you for posting!

Karen said...

I agree ...its really great to have molly and nolan in the neighborhood putting out such great food!!!

Cricket said...

Molly and Nolan are doing an incredible job - if you haven't been you are missing out!

eric williams said...

soho is another great addition to the oc neighborhood / fantastic food + drinks / congrats to the entire crew / continued success + viva soho!