South Restaurant is one of those places that have been on my invisible checklist of places to visit for some time now, so when Restaurant Week rolled around, I figured the timing couldn’t have been more perfect! As if being named one of the Top 50 Philadelphia Restaurants wasn’t reason enough to dine here, South seems to be one of the few places in the city where you can listen to live Jazz. I’m not going to front like I’m this huge Jazz fan, but taking a course as an undergrad in college definitely helped to open my mind up to this genre of music. I also enjoyed some Latin-Jazz while I was in Mexico last summer.
True to its name, South puts its own touch on some classic southern dishes. As a first course, I had a bowl of the chicken and fried oyster gumbo, accompanied with Carolina rice and fried okra. I must admit I was rather hesitant because I don’t think I’ve ever really had oysters before, so I really didn’t know what to expect but I’m happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised. The gumbo was really flavorful! It had the spice that you’d usually expect from a gumbo but an unexpected crunch from the fried oysters and as well as the fried okra that really stood out to me. It was filling but not in a way that made me too full to enjoy the other two courses.
For the second or main course, I tried the Short Rib Pot Roast, which featured a braised beef short rib, creamed collards and sorghum sweet potato mashed. The short rib wasn’t bad and I really enjoyed the collard greens. With that being said, I am not a fan of sweet potatoes. No matter how my grandmother dressed them up as a child, I just never really cared for them too much. I gave these a try and while I’m still not a fan, I did enjoy the creaminess of them. I admit, the presentation could have been a little better.
Alas, the third and final course; dessert: Pineapple upside down bread pudding. This dessert was everything I thought it would be! A nice crunch on the outside, warm on the inside, delicious all over.
Overall, I had a good experience at South and would love to come back to see a Jazz show (the Jazz parlor is separate from the restaurant). My only criticism is the seating. First off, the bar is close to the door, so every time someone entered or exited, I was met with a cold gust of wind. Same for our seating in the dinning area. We were seated at what was considered “The Counter.” It was a cozy little area with a long couch with tables and chairs as well. Not only was it close to the door, it also interfered with the line of people waiting to be seated in the Jazz Parlor. So while you’re trying to dine, you have some people lounging around waiting for the show. Not the most comfortable set up. Nothing a little organization wouldn’t be able to fix.
If you’re a Jazz fan, a foodie or just someone looking to get into something else on a Friday night in Philly, other than the club scene, I would definitely recommend South. While you’re there, you might run into an older gentleman named Charles, as I did. He’s a Jazz musician and a regular at South who gave me the whole run down on the place as well as his love of Jazz music. He definitely helped to keep me company as I waited on my dinner date. Hey, Charles!
Until Next Time,
– A Black Girl About Town