Carriage House: A gritty visit down to the South

This past week I visited a new restaurant that opened recently called Carriage House

It was a very very enjoyable dinner with great food, especially for the price.
The service was also prompt and we got our food quickly (but we were also sitting at the kitchen bar).

Southern food, it’s a funny thing. I think the authentic stuff is actually quite healthy and hearty, but it’s unfortunate that things that come to mind (or at least in my mind) are fried chicken & waffles and grease. Well, Carriage House should prove otherwise.

Carriage House reminds me vaguely of The Publican, but a little bit more southern.
Actually I feel like it would be something of a lovechild between The Publican and Crackerbarrel (if that makes any sense).

Apparently the decor is partly sourced from one of the cook’s own private collection of pigs (below).
There are pigs everywhere if you bother to notice (and if you look closer you’ll find signs of vandalism!)

One of the things I really enjoyed about this particular visit was the kitchen bar. The view was interactive and entertaining.
Pretty much got to watch the heart of the action, and chat with the chefs and servers. All of who were very fun to talk to.

These two were a lot of fun. They explained a little bit about the food they were making and what was going into it.
And what made talking to them really enjoyable was the fact that they were excited about the food they were making. Nothing is more engaging than passion for what you’re doing.

More about the food…

Carriage House is one of those places where you’re encouraged to share your food. Fine with me. That just meant I ordered a lot more than I would if I were eating my own entree.

Ordered the carolina gold rice balls
I’ve had a slightly more crispy version of this at the Purple Pig, but these were quite good as well. (:/ Focus in these couple of shots is a bit off.)

Mushrooms, truffles & eggs.
As the name states, mushrooms topped with a poached eggs and truffles over grits. The grits were delicious. My friend, who apparently hates the texture of grits agreed. I was talking to one of the chefs, and he told me that there’s actually no cheese in the grits, which was really surprising to me since I thought I tasted a sharp cheddar. Later, he told me the secret ingredient. Haha, I’ll have to try cooking it that way some time.

Our large plate was the Crispy Braised Pork Shoulder
This is actually very very special pork shoulder. It’s brined for two days, cured, and then cooked sous vide for 12 hours to retain it’s juiciness, before going into the pan/oven to crisp it up.
Of course it’s also served on top of more grits. Grits, buttery grits.

Just look at that beautiful texture underneath the crust.

Of course we had to get corn bread with it
Buttery cornbread topped with onion jam and whipped foie gras. If this isn’t homestyle decadence, I don’t know what is.

One of the cooks gave us a cucumber melon salad to add a bit of lightness to our meal.
Pickled cucumber and melon with some spring onions to cut through that decadence. Really nice pairing.

And for dessert, ordered the Pecan Praline Sundae.
Bourbon butter pecan ice cream on top of a layered meringue brown sugar shortbread with candied pecans and caramel drizzled over it. Super sweet, but not overwhelmingly oh-my-god rot-your-teeth sweet. It was well- balanced.

All of this made for a very satisfying meal. Definitely coming back to Carriage House.


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