Sometimes, you just can’t come up with a good introduction. No matter how hard you stare at the blinking cursor, your brain feels just about as empty as the pristine white screen in front of your face. Strange thoughts run through your mind occasionally like “Did I brush my teeth this morning?”, but nothing that has anything to do with the topic at hand. This is one of those times and it was not for lack of inspiration…as you will soon see. So, without any introduction and lacking a bunch of ado, John and I had lunch at Sweet Olive last week in the newly remodeled Saint Hotel.
The restaurant is located in what feels like part of the main lobby. I realize this is a fairly common practice in many hotels, but I still don’t really like it. On the other hand, the decor was funky, fun and even a touch risque with lots of sheer white drapes and an eclectic collection of furniture featuring a laced bustier-like chair with an hourglass figure and deep, tall, solid white booths tucked against the back wall.
Although there was somewhat of a strange delay before we ordered, it was smooth sailing after our first course arrived. John had selected the three-course lunch special and so started with a thick, rich gumbo with lots of ham and collard greens, which was new to both of us and absolutely delicious. I chose from the regular menu (and I am so glad I did) because I had to try the Louisiana Crab “small plate” that surprised me in both presentation and flavor. Arranged horizontally in layers were sweet chunks of crab meat, two boiled and halved quail eggs, sliced red potato, micro greens and hidden among each layer, there was drizzled what tasted like a creamy Remoulade. John was lucky to get a bite!
I almost forgot to tell you, probably because we gobbled them down so fast, but we also received a trio of mini-biscuits. Seeing as how I absolute loved the bread at Coquette, I had high hopes for some tasty creation at Sweet Olive and was not disappointed. We made quick work of two cream cheese biscuits, two cornbread muffins and two pimento cheese pinwheels as only we can, in a blur of crumbs and softened butter laced with Steen’s Cane Syrup.
Excuse me while get something to wipe the drool from my keyboard…
Okay! Back and ready to keep rolling! Our entrees were just as wonderful as everything we had thus far. I chose the Southern Picnic which turned out to be a wooden cutting board loaded with a pile of a creamy chicken salad, house made pickles, deviled eggs and a hefty scoop of pimento cheese served with these lovely, buttery cracker strips. I stole several bites of John’s dish, a moist Duck Confit served with fennel and peeled orange slices, with his reluctant consent.
Finally, I was just going to share John’s dessert, a tasty Chocolate Pecan Tart with a bourbon Chantilly cream, but I opted for my own after taking a glance at the menu. I couldn’t resist the Velvet Elvis, three scoops of ice cream – banana, peanut butter and bacon – surrounded by crunchy pieces of red velvet cake. Yeah….I’ll be back….