Peter Dale at City Grit


When you serve good food on a big table you build a bridge to many things–family, fellowship, and friends to name a few. Tonight, City Grit built a bridge from New York all the way from Athens, GA.

Having moved to New York from South Carolina, I fancy myself an ambassador of my homeland. Sarah Simmons shares this passion with her creation of City Grit, a supper club in lower Manhattan dedicated to Southern food traditions.

So with two tickets in hand, I invited my friend Jeff for a taste of the South. Originally from upstate New York, he intends to move South. Has he visited? Nope, he just knows it’s that great. The family-focused, laid back lifestyle draws him in, but I wanted to show the food-focused life is worth the move, too.

Peter Dale, chef at The National in Athens, GA prepared a great 5-course meal, featuring his Ecuadorian heritage and Southern roots. We started with a New Year soup of blackeyed peas and amazing cornbread croutons. Cornbread croutons–brilliant.

Next, Peter stewed some amazing shrimp in a plantain sauce with peanuts (from Georgia, of course).

He gave a culinary shout out to my home state and the Palmetto Tree with an amazing beef tartare with hearts of palm. It was a close second to my favorite entrée, the chicken thighs with endives and a surprisingly refreshing orange marmalade. Definitely a new spin on chicken thighs for me.

But oh my word–the Carolina plantation rice pudding stole the show. The lady beside me phrased it perfectly: “It’s like rice pudding got in a fight with crème brûlée and they both won.”

The only un-Southern thing about this supper was I couldn’t go back for seconds, which I would have with rice pudding…multiple times.

Photography by Kley Sippel

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