Let me start by saying you probably won’t find us reviewing an eatery on a first visit, we’ll call that a preview. Reviews are for 2nd and 3rd dates, after you have met the restaurants parents and gotten to know the food a little better. Unless the location is a one way death trap, we’ll always try to give a place a second chance. I’ve covered the spread here, sampling most of what it has to offer for dinner and my first brunch, so here’s whats “Hungry” at South City Kitchen, Vinings.
Pray for good Atlanta weather because the best seat in the house is on the patio, under the big yellow awnings, you won’t be sorry. Not that booths, tables and the bar aren’t fine, they are, but there is less commotion on the patio and it really allows you to relax and enjoy the food. Ah the food. I have a love, hate affair with whats going on at “SCK”. I promise there is something to like about every dish, but the formula for each dish is a little inconsistent. My grandmother never served anything she wasn’t proud of, so a good restaurant should live up to her expectations.
The meatloaf is a great example of whats going on here, the star of the dish? The baby spinach, crispy onions and smoked chili ketchup. The spinach was cooked just right, tender and full of flavor while the crispy onions offered an amazing texture to each bite of meatloaf, without being overwhelming. Finally the ketchup had a really bright flavor, that wasn’t so overtaken with smoke or heat, it left me wishing the meatloaf had been bathed in it. Which brings me to the issue of the meatloaf. Meatloaf is one of those comfort foods that you have to get just right, in this case it was just ok, not insulting, not mind blowing, but just ok. We even had a friend comment that they wish they’d had the Fried Chicken. But what’s greater than “OK” is the Thursday night Appetizer specials. Order them all; the shrimp corn dogs, the chicken liver pate, the white bean hummus, the pulled pork sliders. My personal favorite is the chicken liver pate, a more than generous helping of rich savory flavor. Each appetizer is so delicious and special to Thursday nights, so make the trip just for the apps.
The shining star here are the Grilled Molasses Brined Pork Chops, they are amazing and the chef made sure they were not over cooked, leaving them with this amazing sweet sear on the outside, and juicy tender slightly pink meat in the middle. The Butter Milk Fried Chicken is a must taste, with a crispy batter that isn’t overly salty, and an almost sweet, tender and moist piece of chicken underneath. Don’t forget to add a side of fried okra, these are whole okra spears fried, and will have you asking for them over and over when you return. The fried green tomatoes are always nice, with a creamy goat cheese filling and sweet basil topping. Don’t forget brunch, while everyone is waiting across the way at J. Christophers sneak over and order a mimosa and the SCK Hot Brown or just order a side of fried okra and the Turnpike stone-ground grits they are creamy and full of corn texture and taste.
The food ,whether brunch or dinner, leans towards the heavy side, and portions are always large helpings so bring your appetite. They do change the menu so ask whats new when you come in (SCK please bring back the sweet tea brined chicken). Service has always been good, and in true Southern fashion with a smile.
Verdict: For the $30 to $50 dollar crowd this should be a no brainer, especially if your looking for great meal in the Vinings area. Explore the menu here and always add a side of fried okra. Don’t be disappointed if you find the star of your ordered dish isn’t what you think. Try the pork chop and fried chicken, you won’t be sorry, they represent the things that this place is really doing well and showing Southern Cuisine at some of its finest. I give South City Kitchen- Vinings 4.5 out of 5 strips of bacon.
South City Kitchen Vinings
Ivy Walk Place
1675 Cumberland Parkway Suite 401
Smyrna, GA 30080
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