32 East 21st Street
New York, NY 10010
(212) 600-2105

There was a time, not long ago, when eating "Southern" food meant trying to find a halfway decent barbecue joint or driving halfway to New Haven to sup at a Cracker Barrel. But, in the last few years, chefs have been traveling north and settling into the deep blue confines of the Big Apple. Hell, Madison Square Park now hosts an annual barbecueathon pulling famous joints in from across the country for a weekend of seriously non-kosher, thoroughly un-vegan delight. One of the latest of these southerners is Gravy in the Flatiron district. And, while Gravy is good and fun, it's certainly priced to cover the rent.

If most other southern restaurants try to play up a cliched hokey, country music lovin', pickup truck from 1975 drivin', I drink shit beer in a can, mamma didna raise no sissies, whachoo lookin' at boy, I'll take some pecan pie, thank you very much ma'am boni-fidees, then Gravy seeks to undo all that with virtually no Mason-Dixon Line references outside of the kitchen. Everything here is clean and modern and upscale and pricey. The food ain't cheap and the drinks are even less so. There's a sexiness in the air that can only really be understood when you sit in the lounge at the entrance. It was like being in a hotel lounge and, while waiting for a table, we were handed the cocktail menu. We felt cheap just waiting, but I wasn't about to pay $14.

The meal was started as we stared at our menus, deciding our fates. "I hope we get cornbread," said Speeds. "It's not a southern meal without cornbread." Honey Rosemary Bread appeared in front of us instead. And before you besmirch the honey rosemary bread, it was insane. It was beyond good. It made cornbread look like a joke southerners play on everyone else while they stick with the good stuff. So the next time someone hands you a plate of cornbread, you just send it right on back.

Mr. Dogz opted out of the appetizers, but mine was the Louisiana Crawfish Gumbo Fritters, with a tomato aioli for dipping. It was okay. Not very crawfishy. The dish was made with the aioli. Without it, you'd have been eating deep fried lobsterish balls. Emphasis on "ish". Speeds got the Fried Green Tomatoes with shaved fennel and goat cheese and thought they were pretty good. I never got a chance to steal a bite, and at one point even asked her where her fried green tomatoes were. "I finished them" she said. "You mean that salad?" Yep.

Foregoing an entree in favor of a large side dish, Speeds followed up her Fried Green tomatoes with the Crispy Mac and Cheese, a casserole macaroni and cheese dish with a breadcrumb top. This time we all got to try it. Not bad, we all noted, but we also all had better. I suppose that everyone has their own favorite macaroni and cheese recipe, usually made by some relative or other, and who can really compare to that? My entree was the Black Garlic Braised Pork Butt with marinated arugula under honey grit cake with toasted corn relish. Mr. Dogz argued that this was the best dish of the night. I was less impressed. I was expecting a big filet mignon sized chunk of pork with a half inch of crusted fat across the top. Instead I got a sloppy joe without the bun. So, I mean it wasn't "bad", but it wasn't really what I thought it would be. Just call it "Fancy Sloppy Joe" and then maybe I won't feel so bad dropping $20+ on it. My vote for best dish of the night went to Dogz's Corn Flake Crusted Chicken. A ball of chicken stuffed with andouille and cheddar, braised collards and kale, and barbecue beans. It was like a down home countrified chicken cordon bleu. But less healthy.

In conclusion, Gravy is cool and fun. The crowd is young and trendy in a Flatiron District sort of way. But it isn't really worth the price when you could get better, or at least the same, for less elsewhere. I can see myself returning, but I can't see making myself a regular here.

Appetizers average $15 and entrees average $26.

[ © Copyright eateryROW 2011 ]
Gravy on Urbanspoon

You Might Also Like



The contents of this website/weblog are the property of its author and are protected under the copyright and intellectual property laws of the United States of America. The views expressed within are the opinions of the author. All rights reserved.

Readers are free to copy and distribute the material contained within, but such external use of the author's original material must be properly attributed to the author. Attribution may be through a link to the author's original work. Derivative use is prohibited. The borrower may not alter, transform, or build upon the work borrowed.

The author is free to change the terms of this copyright at any time and without notice. At the written request by the borrower, the author may choose to waive these rights.