The Southern's Winter Menu

February 16, 2015

Wicker Park comfort food spot The Southern serves up some pretty hearty dishes that are perfect for these frigid temps we're experiencing in Chicago. I stopped by with my sis to check out their new Winter menu. We started with what ended up being my favorite bites of the evening, hushpuppies! Now, these aren't your typical overly fried, greasy hushpuppies, these were plated with collard and artichoke spread, and topped with meyer lemon and pickled beet. That's one way to make a dish heavy and lighter all at the same time! The spread was similar to tartar sauce in consistency and was perfect for dipping the hushpuppies. The real star of the dish though was the meyer lemon. It brightened up the flavor of the cornmeal fritters in a way that made this dish less greasy and heavy.

Our second starter was the macaroni and cheese. I've always been a fan of The Southern's mac 'n cheese from my days ordering heaping portions of it from The Southern's mac 'n cheese food truck. This version was bathed in aged cheddar mornay and topped with biscuit breadcrumbs. It was rich, decadent, and certainly a meal in itself. Who doesn't love a little mac?

Macaroni & Cheese
Some of the main dishes on the winter menu include seafood options including an artic char, lobster risotto, and shrimp & grits, as well as short rib, and their signature fried chicken. It seems short rib is on every restaurant's winter menu but that didn't stop us from trying it.  The Southern's version was braised in red wine,  and served with various root veggies including sweet potatoes and turnips, as well as red cabbage and smoked wild mushrooms. The cabbage and root veggies provided gorgeous pops of color that were a nice contrast to the deep brown of the braised short rib. The meat was as tender as expected, however, both my sis and I thought it was way too salty. I'm rather sensitive to salt when dining out, but she also agreed it could have been toned down. Regardless, the meat and accompaniments paired nicely.

Short Rib
Lastly, we decided to split the fried chicken, a dish The Southern probably is most known for. The plate includes half of an Amish chicken, chicken fat whipped potatoes, collard greens, and corn bread with honey butter. I have to say, we were a bit disappointed. The chicken was nothing special. It wasn't bad, just on the greasy side and lacking some oomph! Especially in the seasoning department. Too bad we couldn't add the salt from the short rib! And then there was the corn bread. It was toasted which may have dried it out. I would much prefer a nice chunk of soft, moist, buttery corn bread. The honey butter did help a bit but I was hoping for more! I'd actually had the fried chicken before for brunch at The Southern and really enjoyed it. I'm not sure why this serving missed the mark.

Fried Chicken
To sum it up, The Southern has some great things going for it. Hearty comfort food is nice especially this time of year, and the macaroni and cheese and hushpuppies were on point. Minus the salt content, we enjoyed the tender short rib, but I'm not sure what the hype is all about regarding the fried chicken. Maybe it was an off night?

Note: my meal at The Southern was complimentary; however, the opinions expressed herein are my own.

The Southern
1840 W. North Ave,
Chicago, IL 60622
The Southern on Urbanspoon

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