Wednesday, March 10, 2010

South City Kitchen - Vinings

1675 Cumberland Pkwy, Smyrna, GA

South City Kitchen - Vinings is the second location of this restaurant owned by Fifth Group. The flagship location is on Crescent St. in midtown. I have eaten there for dinner once, about two years ago, so I thought it was time to try out the sister store about half a mile off the S. Atlanta Rd. exit of 285. It's part of one of those live-work-play communities and is appropriately cute.

When I went to the midtown location two years ago I remember I had a chicken and dumplings dish that was only so-so, and I noted that this dish is no longer on the menu. This time I had the shrimp purloo, which included exactly six large shrimp atop a bed of Carolina Plantation rice mixed with locally grown okra and Benton's country ham. I specifically mention the brand names here because I truly think they made a difference in the quality of the dish - it was great. The okra was just barely tender and delicious. The whole thing was surrounded by a very tasty, spring green rosemary oil that perfectly complemented the other ingredients. Kudos to the chef.

Kyle ordered the BBQ sandwich. He approved of the sauce and particularly liked the coleslaw, and Kyle is picky about coleslaw.

There are a few other interesting items on the menu that I plan to try in the future. The Coca-Cola braised beef brisket comes immediately to mind. I especially like that it's paired with Brussells sprouts, an rare vegetable on Atlanta menus.

Kyle and I usually have very different tastes in desserts and that night was no exception. He ordered the banana pudding and I ordered the chocolate terrine (each $6.75). The banana pudding was served in a parfait glass. Nice presentation, but Kyle was disappointed that the pudding was topped with Cool Whip instead of homemade meringue. I agree - this struck me as a cheap substitution. I enjoyed the chocolate terrine, which was very rich and served with a bourbon sabayon. The texture was great - like a denser version of mousse, my all time favorite dessert.

If you've ever been to Relish in Roswell, you'll find a lot of similarities at South City Kitchen. Relish is a little more casual, the decor less hip, but the pricing and service is the same and the menus both have fried green tomatoes, butter bean hummus, fried catfish and bread pudding (the bread puddin at Relish is Crispy-Creme, at SCK it's cinnamon-raisin). Which restaurant is superior? It's hard to say, but I'm leaning towards Relish.

Verdict: A nice choice for contemporary Southern food in Vinings.

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