This was one of those rare dinners in which the food was so innovative, so exceptionally flavorful, and the service and atmosphere were just the right mix, that it will go down in my mind as one of the most memorable meals ever. Seriously.
The space: comfortable and unpretentious. Not too groovy and in no way red-necky. An Elvis slideshow flickered against one whitewashed brick wall. Stevie Ray Vaughn, Creedence Clearwater Revival, John Lee Hooker, et al. blasted from just far enough away as to prevent the music from intruding on our conversation but it still lent to the overall vibe of the restaurant. It worked. So did the seating, in which many tables for two were close together, though we couldn't hear the convos on either side of us, and we didn't feel we were being overheard. Again, it's just right.
The service: Our waiter acted like he had all the time in the world to explain several dishes to us. He made great suggestions but was never pushy or rushed. He was fun! During the time we were there, he was present without being intrusive, accommodating without hovering. Given the way the dishes came out of the kitchen, sort of one perfectly timed to arrive after the last is cleared, he was masterful in his position.
Drinks: I don't drink bourbon but I drank bourbon and I wasn't even a little bit sorry. Signature drinks include a blackberry bourbon lemonade and something called a Southern Revival. I didn't know what was in it and I didn't care. Then, if a wine list could be thought of as funky, then this one was. It was tight, concise and leaned more towards reds and heavy whites which would compliment the food. I didn't recognize many of labels listed, but most are Californian, maybe boutique vineyards I've yet to discover?
Food: Oh my. Every dish we tasted was its own flavor rush. Some bold, others more delicate, everything was a delightful concoction of interesting textures (cornbread crumbs sprinkled over roasted corn on the cob) subtle surprises (spiced watermelon, with mint and honey and I don't know what else but ohmygod it was good) and unique flavor pairings (fried green tomato BLT, not a sandwich but a short stack of tomato, pimento cheese, pork belly and some zingy sauce). Chicken marinated for 27 hours before it was fried... most southern grandmothers only wish they could make fried chicken like we had. And for me, the best of all was the shrimp and grits. If I were on death row, I'd ask for these shrimp and grits before heading down the hall to be strapped into Old Sparky. If I were to take to my bed in case of the vapors or a fit of depression, I'd call for these shrimp and grits. Creamy, not mushy, aromatic and perfectly seasoned, with tender, delicate shrimp and strips of ham, with just a touch of sauce, these were the holy grail of shrimp and grits. While the menu is designed for each dish to be shared, in the future, I could easily order this generous dish for myself and pity the person who dares to cast a fork towards my plate. Have mercy.
My kiwi beau has not stopped talking about the fried chicken, waffles and watermelon and laments not having ordered the ribs. And the pork chop. And the chicken and dumplings...
We both had a fabulous meal at a unique, now iconic, restaurant. We glided out of Yardbird feeling like honorary members of the Dixie Heaven Secret Society of Savory Charm and Hospitality. We'll be back.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.