Close your eyes. Now, think of a place where you can go where everything is perfect. The sand is warm, the water is cold, the food is perfect, all the people you love are healthy and rich, and you have all the keys to success. Now, open your eyes. This restaurant is the closest thing to where you can go where everything is perfect. The gag is…. It’s in an alley. Who says good things don’t come from alley’s? Well, of course they do! Business deals go down in the alley. Legal dice games called “craps”, friendly disagreements where people have permanent marks on faces from a game of “hard slap boxing”, and your favorite t.v. shows have scenes in the alley. Now, I must admit, if you’re GPS system sucks, it will take you sometime to find the restaurant, but once you do find it, you will have reached the motherland.
This restaurant is my first Michelin Star restaurant, that took me three months to get in. What attracted me to this restaurant was the fresh ingredients it offered, the variety of what was on the menu, and the praises it received from different people. I had a reservation at 5 p.m. and decided to grab a table next to the kitchen. I had on a blazer because it was appropriate to wear one for this type of restaurant, what I didn’t know is that I would be hot as fish grease sitting next to the kitchen. The smoking flame from the fire and the heat lamps will make you think twice about sitting next to the kitchen, but if you have the opportunity to sit next to it I suggest you do. The interior of this restaurant is beautiful, with an opportunity to sit out doors on a nice warm evening.
I had the pleasure of watching Mike Tholis in action as the Sous Chef on duty for the night. It was amazing to watch him call out orders and demand perfection for the night. He and his team of chefs are a force to be reckoned with. Dabney offers “small plates” and you work your way up to “big plates”. Everything on the menu looked so wonderful, that if I were rich, I’d take a group of friends and order two of everything on the menu. I was able to order five dishes ranging from Fried Chicken Skins to Whole Black Bass.
First, let’s start off with the Fried Chicken Skins. Yes, the skins of the chicken that we all love. I think I might’ve shed a tear with each bite that I took. Have you ever had fried chicken skins? Like, someone was genius enough to take the skin off of chicken, fry it, and sell it. This is genius. Possibly the closest thing to the invention of google. Ok, I’m being dramatic, but you understand where I’m coming from.
Next, we have the Farm Egg. You know how I feel about eggs, right? Well, I never had it mixed with lardo, sweet corn, basic, crunchy chili, and nardello peppers. The only thing that was missing from this dish is bacon. Maybe I should’ve ordered this specific dish to go, fry some bacon the next morning, and send my taste buds on a journey they’ve never been. The ingredients in this dish were fresh, consistent, and flavorful. I thought the chili would be spicy, but surprisingly it was more sweet than anything.
The third dish that was ordered was the Cape May Lobster and Grits. This dish is pretty straight forward. Wait, no it’s not. Jesus Tears were obviously mixed with the grits and lobster. The grits were buttery, the lobster was meaty, and I tried my hardest to not lick the bowl. I’m pretty upset that I didn’t order another plate, but there was more food to devour. This was the best version of grits I’ve ever had. Flavorful, hot, juicy, moist, *shit, some slobber just dropped on my computer, so embarrassing :(*.
The fourth dish that was ordered was the Stuffed Quail. Once you get over the fact that you’re eating a Quail, you’ll actually enjoy the dish. The stuffing that was in the Quail was amazing, and reminded you of a Thanksgiving meal. I enjoyed the berries that came with the dish as well as they were very tart, but worked well with the stuffing. The Quail tastes like baked chicken so don’t be afraid to order this if it’s on the menu.
The last dish that was ordered was the Whole Black Bass. It came with Carolina gold rice, now let’s stop right there. Have you ever had Carolina Gold Rice? I don’t know if Carolina Gold Rice is a thing, but it’s the softest most flavorful white rice I’ve ever had. I don’t even like rice, and this rice makes me contemplate myself. It was sweet, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t add sugar. Pole beans and onions also came with the dish, and worked well with the sweetness of the rice. The fish was flaky, mild, infused with salt, and tender. The sauces that came with the dish were spicy and another one comparable to a sweet and sour sauce. I was damn near tipping over in my chair trying to finish this pound and a half piece of fish. If you don’t like fish with bones, I recommend that you don’t order it. I recommend that you have a friend order it for you, and debone it and feed it to you like you’re the King of Scottland. What? You really thought I was going to tell you to NOT order this piece of fish because it had bones in it? Grow up.
Overall, there’s no other way that I can possibly say that this restaurant needs to be on your to go list. It’ll be some of the best tasting food you’ll ever have. Because “First Class” is the highest rating I could possibly give, I want you to be aware that this restaurant is better than a First Class Experience. Oh, the menu changes daily. So if you go to this restaurant and you’re mad at me because you didn’t see what I ordered on the menu, it’s your fault because you didn’t read my entire review.