As I’ve said before, I don’t really “like” food, per-say, but in order to not die I have to eat it. I don’t need big fancy meals in order to fend off hunger, so Carriage House was definitely a step out of my comfort zone. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily “fancy” food, but it’s a lot fancier than my hot dog loving ass is used to.
Carriage House Chicago
The main idea behind the restaurant is that it’s “Modern Low Country Fare”… not really sure what that means, but from what I was able to deduce is that it means, order a shit load of small plates for $15 each and then order a couple entrees for $30 each; don’t forget $11 drinks. It seems like a lot, but as long as you have at least 4 people sharing plates, it’s not that bad in the end, plus you get to try a few different things. That being said, let’s talk food.
We started off with a handful of the small plates. The Fried Chicken Thigh is exactly what it sounds like… a small piece of fried chicken; it was delicious. This is a pretty safe bet for anyone who’s a picky eater, plus it was only $9. Shrimp and Grits was up next. I’m not a fan of most seafood, shrimp being one of them, so I steered clear. However, I have never even tried grits so I decided it might be a good time to see what all the fuss was about… Yeah, I still don’t like grits. It’s as if someone chewed up a bunch of corn, swallowed it, regurgitated it back into their mouth, spit it into a cup of water, put that water back into their mouth and then spit it onto the plate…. it’s weird. The weird consistency combined with whatever made them spicy just didn’t do it for me. Never going to have those again… The next thing we ordered was kind of like an appetizer sampler (even though everything was basically an appetizer). The Picnic Board came loaded with a tiny bit of ham, some weird cheese thing, cornbread, pickes, deviled eggs, which oddly are called pickled eggs on the menu… wait, did I eat a pickled egg and actually enjoy it? I don’t believe it, it tasted and looked like a deviled egg. Aside from the weird cheese that I didn’t eat, everything else was good. The cornbread was so good it prompted us to order about 4 more side orders of it throughout the course of dinner. The last small plate we got was Mushroom, Truffle and Egg, which I could have done without. I don’t get the fascination with truffle and I don’t like mushrooms, not to mention this whole thing was resting on a pile of grits…. no thanks.
With the small plates out of the way we decided to order 2 of the larger plates as well. The first one that came out was the Crispy Braised Pork Shoulder, which was delicious, but guess what…. GRITS! I guess I should have known that everything on the menu would have been served with grits since it is “Low Country Fare”. The grits didn’t stop me from enjoying the pork though.
For our final dish of the evening we went with the Buttermilk Marinated Ribeye which was also quite delicious. I’ve never been a huge steak guy, I eat it when I have to, but this was actually pretty good. I would say it was better than the $50+ aged filet I had from Chicago Cut in December.
So I survived another night out with strange foods, and only one picture was taken during dinner… sans flash. Combine that with good company and a pregnancy celebration and it turned out to be a very enjoyable evening.
For the non-adventurous eaters out there Carriage House may be a bit of a stretch in some cases, but there are definitely things on the menu that you can try without getting too far out of your comfort zone.