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"South" restaurant in Raleigh's North Hills

r
rockycat Feb 21, 2007 09:42 AM

Did anyone see Greg Cox's blurb today about South, the restaurant that took Savannah's place at North Hills? Although the restaurant group has an impressive track record the reported menu items left me feeling a bit, well, odd, almost as if Wolfgang Puck had decided to do his "interpretation" of a Down East meat & threes.

"First course options include fried green tomatoes and okra (why hasn't someone thought of that combination before?), pimento cheese beignets, deviled eggs and Virginia peanut soup. Entrees cover the spectrum from fried chicken to carpetbagger steak, with a varied assortment including shrimp and grits, Frogmore stew and country-fried steak with peppered gravy in between. Just be sure to save room for coconut cream pie or warm Cheerwine pound cake or (I think I hear Elvis stirring) peanut butter and banana Monte Cristo."

http://www.newsobserver.com/105/story...

Has anyone been there, heard anything, or know anything more?

  1. d
    DonataGuerra Feb 26, 2007 09:23 AM

    Someone read a menu to my husband, and we are looking forward to trying it. We enjoy one of the other restaurants run by this group (Vivace).

    1. Suzy Q Feb 27, 2007 08:12 PM

      We're talking about trying it for a Girls Night Out this Friday, so I'll be sure to report back here if we do. I saw the N&O piece and I thought the place sounded a little contrived - Cheerwine pound cake, for pete's sake? - but to your point, Donata, Vivace is great, so I'll try it before passing judgement.

      1. c
        cackalackie Feb 28, 2007 05:56 AM

        I agree that it sounds really contrived. But I too am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt - and try it - based on my satisfaction with their other restaurants. I'll be interested in hearing your report, Suzy.

        1. peetoteeto Feb 28, 2007 06:53 AM

          Can either of you explain "contrived?" I'm not wishing to come across as obnoxious at all...I'm just curious. What's the distinction between creative and contrived?

          Personally, I'd order a Cheerwine poundcake...a lot sooner than a traditional ho-hum dessert like blackberry cheesecake, pecan pie or key lime pie.

          1. Suzy Q Feb 28, 2007 05:13 PM

            Contrived = trying way too hard. Like serving substandard food, labelling it as "authentic Southern fare", and hoping you'll attract enough imports who don't know any better to stay in business.

            Not that this is necessarily the case with South - as a matter of fact, I'm really hoping it isn't. But I'll let y'all know after Friday night. :-)

            6 Replies
            1. re: Suzy Q
              a
              abowes Mar 1, 2007 05:21 AM

              My definition would differ significantly in that I don't think it has anything to do with substandard. For me "contrived" means that there's no purpose or integrity in the thing. "Weird simply for the sake of being weird." It can use all the best, but if you're putting together things that don't work or don't need to be complicated, seemingly just to say "lookie what I can do" - that's contrived.

              1. re: abowes
                c
                cackalackie Mar 1, 2007 07:39 AM

                That's probably more in line with that I was thinking. It just struck me as a bit "made up" and silly, like what Rachel Ray would come up with for a 30-minute meal, based on what she thinks Southern cuisine is. Case in point - I'm sure I read that they'd be serving bowls of pork rinds at the bar. Does anyone really eat pork rinds?

                I do have confidence that it won't be as "bad" as it sounds, though. And perhaps very "creative" is what will come off as after all.

                1. re: cackalackie
                  d
                  detlefchef Mar 1, 2007 08:03 AM

                  I eat porkrinds whenever I can't find duck cracklins.

                  1. re: detlefchef
                    r
                    rockycat Mar 1, 2007 10:06 AM

                    Duck cracklins...how chichi. I'm a gribenes person myself. ;-)

                    Seriously though, Cheerwine is local - Salisbury, NC. And I might find it interesting at a casual bbq joint. But at a restaurant that could easily be charging $7 or $8 for dessert I expect to find something a bit beyond what you might find at a potluck church supper. It isn't so much the Cheerwine part I object to, it's that they're not doing anything especially creative with it. It seems like it's just on the menu so they can say, "Look how South we are." Honestly, it does strike me as a WTF.

                    1. re: detlefchef
                      c
                      chazzer Mar 1, 2007 10:54 AM

                      Porkrinds are one of the top reasons for going to Coopers for BBQ

                    2. re: cackalackie
                      a
                      abowes Mar 1, 2007 09:38 AM

                      Okay, the pork rinds seem a bit over the top for me.

                      But CheerWine pound cake - isn't Coca Cola Cake a traditional southern concoction? It sounds familiar to me. And, CheerWine is very NC, no? So, then, it would seem to me to be a fun twist rather than WTF?!

                2. p
                  probono Mar 1, 2007 10:23 AM

                  I am going there tonight, so I will post shortly. I love there other places, for the most part, especially Frazier's. I must admit it does sound a little off the wall, but I will return with one man's humble opinion.

                  1. Suzy Q Mar 2, 2007 11:26 AM

                    I have NEVER in my life heard anyone call it Pepsi Cola Cake. Heck, every soft drink in the world is called "CoCola" around here for the most part anyway.

                    Back to the topic at hand - there are several reviews of South on the Raleighing board. They're all fairly positive, which I hope means good things for the restaurant.

                    1. r
                      rockycat May 30, 2007 06:32 PM

                      Turns out I did try it about six weeks ago. I took two of my suppliers for a business lunch. I chose not to post a review of the meal mostly because I didn't feel that the meal was distinctive enough to warrant one.

                      A table of three received 3 hushpuppies. They were cooler than room temperature and tasted mostly of oil. Among us we ordered shrimp and grits, a BBQ sandwich, and a cheeseburger. Since this was a business lunch I couldn't sample my guests' dishes, but my shrimp and grits were quite tasty. One guest ordered dessert and while he claimed to enjoy it, he later expressed regret that we hadn't stopped for ice cream instead.

                      No complaints, other than the prices. There was nothing especially wrong with the meal but, within this idiom, I feel there are better choices locally. Had this not been an expense account meal I would have been disappointed.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: rockycat
                        Suzy Q Jun 2, 2007 09:34 AM

                        I tried South at lunch the other day and was sorely disappointed. I ordered chicken salad, which you'd think would be done well in any Southern restaurant worth its salt, but it was...well...weird. It was very dry, and was overwhelmingly flavored with, of all things, cinnamon. Just a very odd lunch. My co-worker got the goat cheese ravioli, which she said were OK, but overpriced for the amount of food that she got. We ended up hitting Ben & Jerry's on the way back to the office.

                      2. The Chowhound Team Jun 24, 2007 10:40 AM

                        We try to keep this board focused just on sharing tips on where to find great chow. We've moved a digression about Greg Cox to the Food Media & News board, where food critics are discussed. You can find the thread here http://www.chowhound.com/topics/414601

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