I took the downtown tour with my girlfriend on a rainy weekday afternoon. We were using a Groupon deal, which cut the tour price in half. Knowing what I know now, though, I would pay full price for this adventure.
The day began with the Southend Brewery & Smokehouse, which gives off the allure of a chain brewery. The food didn't resemble the decor, which is actually fun. My favorite dish, a shrimp and grits standard, was served here.
It was with the shrimp and grits where our tour guide set the tone for the day, when he described the unique pig involved in making the dish so sweet. His explanation here, as it was during the rest of the tour, including walking down various streets, was interesting, understandable, amusing and personable. Our guide made us feel at home and at ease, to the point where we asked questions and chatted informally afterwards.
The second stop, Amen Street, had the most interesting food. Additionally, my girlfriend was asking about oysters and our guide wrestled one up for us at no extra charge.
Our final stop, Burwell's Stone Fire Grill, was a bit of a disappointment. The locale is appealing, but the food presentation is a bit pretentious. The meal included steak that we grilled ourselves on hot rocks in the middle of the table. That experience was a little much and suggested the place was too focused on gimmicks.
The dessert that we finished with was interesting and tasty.
The best part about this stop was the access to the chefs. The downside was that they didn't seem interested in engaging the customers or promoting their food. They could have taken a page from the tour guide.
The whole experience left us stuffed and content.
There are a mix of restaurants that are used for this tour and i would trust the guides to lead me again.