2017 Summer Restaurant Weeks: Week Two, Day Three
After three French restaurants in a row, it was time for a change.
Honeysuckle is a New Southern restaurant a few blocks from home. It opened about a year ago on the site of Vidalia, another restaurant that was one of my long-time favourites. After some personnel changes, Vidalia declined during its last few years, and finally closed in 2016.
Now one of the chefs from Vidalia’s glory days has opened this new contender in the same location. This was my first visit.
Chesapeake Sugar Toads
Yep. They’re called “Chesapeake Sugar Toads,” but no toads (or sugar) were harmed in the making of this dish. First of all, “Sugar Toads” are not toads, they’re fish, blowfish to be specific. The Chesapeake version is sometimes called the Northern Puffer. They’re small, not much bigger than jumbo shrimp. Honeysuckle served them with popcorn grits and pickled okra.
Sugar Toads have long been considered “trash fish,” but they’ve recently entered the mainstream, and I’m really sorry for that wordplay, but I’m leaving it in anyway.*
Tasting Sugar Toads for the first time was not a life-changing experience.The most I can say about this starter is that now I’ve tried it.
Braised Beef Short Ribs
Braised Beef Short Ribs were the best part of the meal. Fork tender, they came with grits, smoked onion jam, and turnip greens.
The menu put “Peach Tart” in quotation marks, and the dessert itself was a deconstructed version of the traditional dish, composed of pecan shortbread, slow roasted peaches, peach ice cream, and rye whiskey caramel.
The verdict on Honeysuckle: Not as good as Vidalia. Nothing blew me away.
One of the differences between Southern cooking and New Southern cooking is that the new version shrinks portion size to a fraction of the old. I left hungry.
*Some other former “trash fish” that have become popular: Barramundi, Rockfish, Anchovies, Sardines, Arctic Char, and Monkfish.