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Fine-Dining with Southern Influences?

Hi All,

I am searching for something a bit odd and I hope you guys can help me out.

I'm looking for fine-dining restaurants in the city (must be Manhattan) that have Southern influences. I'm familiar with our fair city's actual Southern / Soul food places (ie Charles Southern Kitchen, Amy Ruths, etc) but what I'm looking for is specifically higher-end places where there are a few (just a few are fine) Southern techniques or ingredients making a menu appearence.

I know this may be a difficult request...but I'm hoping you guys can help me out. This is for personal research and eating purposes and I appreciate any suggestions!!!

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  1. That really is a toughie. Ida Mae might have qualified, but it just closed. There's B. Smith's. The food doesn't seem to get much praise on this board, but you might want to check it out for yourself.

    http://www.bsmith.com/restaurant_ny.php

    1. Having never been, I can't recommend it - I only suggest this as something to explore: Jezebel has always intrigued me and I believe it has been around for a long time. Perhaps some other posters could provide some feedback if they have been. Good luck!

      www.jezebelny.com

      1. I'd take a look at Cookshop. Lots of Southern ingredients and preparations. Some reports of inconsistent food and service, but I've had two good experiences there.

        1. Maybe you can try The Lonesome Dove and report back to us. Its SouthWest btw..not sure if it mattered.

          1. How about Blue Ribbon? It's a cool downtown Manhattan kind of place, but they have great fried chicken with collard greens and mashed potatoes, catfish, sweet potatoes, plenty of seafood, etc. They actually have a fairly large and eclectic menu, so lots of different tastes can be indulged.

            It may not fit your definition of "fine" dining, but it's a nice room, the service is very professional and friendly, and the food is very good.

            Dinner menu:
            http://www.blueribbonrestaurants.com/...

            1. I'm not sure how "fine" this is, but there is a lot of southern in Clinton St Baking Company. I had a wonderful grilled pork tenderloin (how much more southern can you get than pork!) with apples and sweet potato gratin the other night. And the crab fritters tasted a lot like hush puppies to me, yummm. Not to mention the hands-down best biscuits in the city. Maybe ever. And that is saying a lot.

              1. It's a really good question. I think in the minds of many "fine dining" patrons, southern equals downscale. Most of the places that come to mind are in New Orleans. It's hard to believe that a Herbsaint or August couldn't make it in New York. Many forget that Paul Prudhomme opened in Manhattan and it was a miserable failure.

                There were problems with location and quality control, but there was also tremendous resistance to the high prices. I think the food establishment, as well as patrons, felt that southern, especially without the trappings of "elegance," couldn't be fine dining or merit the expense.

                Rosemary's in Las Vegas provides the kind of Southern-influenced cuisine that I think could work in New York, but again, I'm not sure you'd call it "fine dining." Unfortunately, "fine dining" seems to be equated with fancy surroundings and expensive ingredients.

                1. There used to be a really nice one - name was something like Beulah. Nobody ever really filled the gap. Jezebel is possible, although I haven't been; but in fact I think you're best bets are in Harlem. Revival and Mobays are nice-looking places, and I am sure there are others. Not swanky, but way better than B. Smiths.

                  1. Thanks for all of the suggestions! This is actually the beginings of a research project I'm starting in the coming weeks and Chow Hound seemed like the perfect place to find informaed recommendations.

                    Cookshop was already on my radar, as was Blue Ribbon, though they are more casual than I was looking for - thought this project is about technique and high-quality ingredients, not decor. I agree with Dave Feldman (see above) that elegance and Southern have yet to make it in Manhattan.

                    I've never heard of Revival, so I will check that out. It seems to me that it's hard to find a Southern influence without the trappings of greasy or over-cooked food.

                    Thank you all very much and if I make any unexpected discoveries, I'll be sure to post.

                    1. One more for you to check into: Maroons.

                      http://maroonsnyc.com/

                      1. I second Maroon's wholeheartedly. They serve a cross between Jamaican and Southern, and actually organize their menu according to those catagories, so you know what you're ordering. Great service too.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: NinaO

                          I like Maroons a lot, but it's not fine dining.

                        2. I would try the Delta it's at 9th and 50th (I think) one of my favorites. They do some great Gumbo, Catfish, Fried Chicken, and a lot of other great food southern food with an upscale twist. try the chicken Lenore it's andouille stuffed fried chciken in cheese sauce. Amazing specials and a really unique take on Southern Food.

                          I love the place and since moving to Bklyn have been back their twice, and never been dissapointed.

                          http://thedeltagrill.com/

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: adavison

                            Not really "fine"--but white table cloth & good service is LONDEL's--with definite southern food.