We eagerly accepted an invite to try the new SOUTH Kitchen & Jazz Parlor at 600 North Broad Street. It opened last month in the former Route 6 spot, next to Alla Spina. As jazz fans, we were particularly excited not only to try the menu, but also hear some good music. SOUTH is owned by Robert and Benjamin Bynum, famously known for the late, legendary Zanibar Blue and Warmdaddy’s, among others.
When we arrived, we were glad to see that valet parking was available for $15. Better than trying to find parking ourselves. There is a front entrance and a side entrance. We choose the enter through the side, near Alla Spina. You walk through a delightful, outdoor dining courtyard is complete with colorful flowers by Melissa Reilly Palmer of Florum Flowers. It was a wee bit chilly so we opted to dine inside.
We were greeted and seated quickly. While the bar was in full “Happiness Hours” swing, the dining room had plenty of seating. Our server, Jayleah, came right over to welcome us and give us the lowdown. She was very knowledgeable about the menu, and was happy to make recommendations.
I was eager to try a bourbon cocktail to start things off, and after studying the drinks menu, I easily chose the “Kentucky Butler” – Bulleit Bourbon, lemon, Bergamot syrup, cucumber and mint. Yes, it’s a bit of a girly drink; but a perfectly light and refreshing sip for the beginning of a meal. I’m also a sucker for any drink with cucumber in it.
Hubby decided to abstain from alcohol that evening and went with the Sweet Tea, which was not overly sweet – go figure – but quite refreshing.
While we sipped our drinks, we made our dinner selections, and were brought mini biscuits and cornbread muffins to nosh on. The muffins were standard, but the biscuits were rather noteworthy in that they had a really nice smoky flavor to them. Combined with the cream cheese butter, it was a yummy first bite of SOUTH.
We took Jayleah’s recommendation for our first starter – the Blue Crab Toast. Originally on the special menu, it was so popular, they added it to the regular menu. Blue crab is mixed with a lemon-caper aoili and smashed avocado on brioche toast. Doesn’t look like much, but they were packed with a lot of flavor. There is little wonder why they are so popular. Crab and avocado are a classic pairing and these were absolutely scrumptious.
We couldn’t dine at a Southern-inspired restaurant and NOT order Gumbo. So we ordered the Duck and Andouille Sausage Gumbo, of course. Jayleah did a great job of describing how they make it with a rich, dark brown roux. Anything that starts with a brown roux is going to be good eats. And this absolutely met our expectation. If you like complex, liberally spiced dishes that make your taste buds stand up – this Gumbo is a must.
At this point, I was ready for another cocktail. So I went with the “Country Daisy” on Jayleah’s suggestion. She said this was probably her favorite. The simple combination of Basil Hayden Bourbon, curacao, lemon, and bitters was a perfect and much needed slightly sweet counterpoint to the spicy and hearty Gumbo.
It didn’t take me long at all to get through cocktail #2. It went down very easy. I was going to stop, but decided that I wanted at least one “potent” drink so I ordered the “South Sazerac” to go along with my entree. Unfortunately, no picture was taken, but it looked like your typical Sazerac except that it was anything but. Made of Knob Creek Rye, Hine VSOP, House Demerara, House Sazerac Blend Bitters and Absinthe rinse — talk about warming the cockles! That’s a slow sipper for sure. Really great, though, and a perfect dinner drink.
Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait very long between courses.
If lamb is on the menu, chances are I’m going to order it. It’s one of my favorite proteins. Jayleah was very descriptive about how it is prepared, and I kind of forget the fine details, but I do remember her saying that before the Vadouvan-spiced lamb is roasted, it spends some time with duck fat. Yeah, I was sold on that. It was served with farro verde, bacon, mustard greens, and fig jam. It was the best possible roast lamb; completely fork-tender and mouthwatering. Proudly, I ate the whole thing.
Hubby’s choice was equally spectacular.
Talk about on-point pork — this Berkshire chop was perfect. Proper searing on the outside with grill marks and moist and tender on the inside. It’s everything you want in a chop. The collared greens had a prominently mustard and vinegar flavor. A bit overpowering, but not completely unpleasant. The spoonbread was unremarkable.
At this point, we were almost ready to throw in the towel, but after taking a look at the dessert menu, we HAD to try something. I got the Bourbon Pecan Pie – why stop with the bourbon trend, right? It was served with amazing caramel gelato that was I was told was from Franklin Fountain. The pastry chef plans on making all ice creams and sorbets in house, however she is waiting for a special ice cream machine. For now the Franklin Fountain “will do.” I thought I took a picture of it, but it’s nowhere to be found. Alas, it was amazing.
Hubby got the chocolate cake which isn’t on the regular menu. It, too, was served with the caramel gelato and chocolate mousse. Way decadent and a perfect sweet ending to an amazing meal.
He also had a La Colombe coffee to end the night’s repast.
Just as we were finishing up our meal, the evening’s jazz entertainment was beginning. So we had a chance to listen for a bit. We learned it was the Chris Oatts Quartet performing. Note that since it is live entertainment, you’ll have to pay for it. It is $10 to enter the Jazz Parlor. But from what we were heard, it was worth it. We captured a brief video to give you a sampling of what to expect entertainment-wise.
From warm welcome to sweet ending, we had a wonderful experience and great food at SOUTH Kitchen & Jazz Parlor. Go for the Southern-inspired cuisine and stay for the jazz and cocktails. A touch and taste of the South here in Philadelphia worth checking out.
SOUTH Kitchen & Jazz Parlor
600 North Broad Street