Southern Accents - Summerlicious
Today is my boyfriend and my four-year anniversary, so we thought it would be nice to go out last night for a Summerlicious meal to celebrate. We wanted something that we'd never had before, and decided that the Southern Accents menu fit the bill (it's Cajun). We made reservations the very first night that you could (june 19th, so a month before our actual reservations). We wanted 7:30 p.m., but they told us 6:30 or 8:30 only. We took 6:30. We showed up a bit early because we had planned on walking around the neighbourhood first, but it was pouring rain. They took us on a long travel around the restaurant (for those of you who have never been there - it's in an old house, so it's like the Madison bar in that it has multiple levels and nooks and crannies). Finally, we got to the top level, where they put in a room with no atmosphere at all, and the only other people in the room was a party of 20 people including three screaming babies. I asked that we be moved. They said, "Why do you want to move?" I explained this was our anniversary and we would like somewhere a bit more quiet and romantic than this. They moved us back downstairs.
The menu sounded delicious as well. However, every dish was about the size of my finger. The antipasta for one came with one slice of cheese, one slice of proscutto, two arthichoke hearts. My main course was the sausage and shrimp skewers - it had four pieces of cut up sausage and three baby shrimp on each skewer. The menu promised grilled corn, but I got potatoes on my plate (and I hate potatoes). The only winner was the dessert, a banana spring roll (really just deep fried banana), but overall not very impressive at all. They served us so quickly that we were out of there in forty minutes. I would not go back.
Honestly, this is one of my favourite restaurants, and my wife and I have been there at least a half dozen times, probably more. Usually it is wonderful for special occassions, with the beautiful patio and the "nooks" built for two.
Every meal we've had there as been fantastic except one: and that was a couple years ago when we accidentally went during Summerlicious. The menu options were more limited than usual, as some favourites were temporarily not available, I assume to make way for the prix fixe options. The usually wonderful and personable staff were rushed and frazzled like we'd never seen them. My wife received a piece of gristly fish. We decided to write off the bad experience as an anomaly, and thankfully it was: every visit since then has been as great as the ones before the less-than-stellar meal.
So my honest suggestion: give 'em another try on a non-licious night. Southern Accent (note there is no 's' on the end of the name) is just one of several restaurants where we've found a 'licious experience to be disappointing, and that's why we tend to avoid those festivals now. I really wish good restaurants wouldn't take on the 'licious experience when they're not prepared to handle the crush, because when handled poorly it seems to do nothing more than damage otherwise decent reputations. Sigh.
I went to Southern Accent for a Winterlicious dinner in 2006 and was underwhelmed as well. Although your experience does seem worse. I believe I had a cauliflower soup for the starter and all it tasted like was black pepper. It also came with the "Hush Puppies" which is a sort of fried corn-based dough, it tasted fine but was nothing special. My main was a jambalaya and it was just not as flavourful or interesting as I thought it would be. The dessert might have been something sort of butter tart-esque but was obviously not memorable. However, I did find the ambiance to be fun even if maybe a bit dark. Might be interesting with their live music as well, but I've not returned since.
I've always wanted to try Southern Accent but was a little wary of Cajun/Creole this far north of New Orleans, and at expensive prices and small portions to boot.
I've had better luck eating at Cajun/creole in Detroit of all places, or even Cleveland.
I'll take your advice and wait till my next trip south.