Sunday, March 31, 2013

Carriage House

Location: 1700 W Division
Cost: About $40 per person

My friend Sophia wanted to get together for another one of our Tuesday night dinners. The reason we go out on Tuesday nights is because she works pretty much every other night of the week. Given that her schedule seems worse than mine, I usually let her guide where we go. She decided on Carriage House. The concept of small plate southern food seemed somewhat wrong to me, but I'll go pretty much anywhere with fried chicken on the menu. Marissa tagged along for good measure too.

Logistics
Carriage House is right on the corner of Division and Paulina (right between my sister's old apartment and my yarn store). The interior has a cool look with many little tables and counters throughout, not to mention some of Stu Pearl's favorite communal tables. The kitchen is relatively exposed too which feeds the vibrant feel. I'd heard the wait can build up, but on a Tuesday night we didn't have any issues. I would avoid driving over there too because parking is a real pain.

Our waiter helped decipher the small plate menu well. The big issue was that all of our small plate items showed up at the same time. It made for some cold eating and an appetizer and entree course that melded together. I thought it was too pricey too. Most small plates were in the low teens. That's a reasonable amount for small plate restaurants, but when I get southern food, my expectations are usually set on lower prices and hefty portions.

The Food
We got started with the Skillet Cornbread, the Mushroom Truffle and Eggs, the Fried Chicken Thigh, and the Carolina Gold Rice Balls (which, like I was saying, all came out together). The cornbread had a sweetness and uniform texture. The whipped butter and jam on top smoothed things over real nicely too. The mushroom, truffle, and egg dish was my favorite of the meal. The baked grits and oyster shrooms made for a killer combo. The fried chicken thigh was disappointing. The skin wasn't as crispy as I'd hoped, and the acidity from the pickle topping just didn't pair well. They had a few homemade hot sauces that none of us could get on board with. The rice balls didn't win anyone over either. The pimento cheese rang through but the texture of the fried rice ball was off putting.


 The Mushroom Truffle and Egg

 The Skillet Cornbread

 The Fried Chicken Thigh

The Carolina Gold Rice Balls

Our second course, dessert, included the Beignets and the Pistachio Sundae. The beignets were a little dense but soaked up the chocolate sauce on the side well. The sundae had plenty of nuts and caramel sauce.


The Sundae

The Beignets

Overall
I don't think I was able to overcome my issues with having small plate southern food. I was hoping for bigger portions and stronger flavors. Given that it was small plate anyways, I was hoping for reasonable coursing. Still, the cornbread and mushroom, truffle, and egg dish were really something. I might be on an island with this opinion, but the fried chicken wasn't anything special. I'm giving them 2.5 out of 5 Pearls.


Carriage House on Urbanspoon

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