Battiste & DuPree
Junior Battiste can still bring it. Regina and I went there with the in-laws last tonight (f-i-l is from Louisiana) and he thought it was very good. Always looking to expand my horizons, I opted for the General Jackson Chicken and it was pretty fiery.
I can't tell you how hard it is for me not to get the Shrimp Po' Boy. My little 4'10" mother-in-law lowered the hammer on that sandwich. I mistakenly thought she'd tap out somewhere around the halfway point. Save for a few bites of bread, that sandwich was gone. (No scraps for me.) I was interested to find that he typically gets the bread for that sandwich from On the Rise. Am I surprised? No, every great sammie begins with great bread.
There's a reason why I wait and visit a few times before I put up an in depth post. They have absolutely nailed the space - especially the outside patio. I only drank one kind of beer (a few Pearl Street Wheats). I don't typically like to try a bunch of different beers, so with it being summer I did what a good boy would do - the summer beer thing. That particular beer is decent, but for the most part the style is fairly fool proof.
I will say that, at the urging of my brother-in-law Walt (of Fat Casual fame), demanded that we do the Ellis Cooley inspired Pickle Back. This curious concoction consists of a shot of Jack quickly followed by a shot of pickle juice. The crazy thing is it works. The pickle juice neutralizes the Jack and the Jack neutralizes the pickle taste, leaving you with a cool cucumber tinge in your throat. It's not on the menu, but it should be. They make their own pickles. What the hell?
The food is, shall we say, a bit bland. I don't mean to sound like it's bad food - it isn't. It's executed just fine, but there was a general lack of flavor that most everyone in our party agreed on. I think as a newly opened restaurant that is the easiest fix. Our service was good. The energy was high. The space rocks out. The food just needs to be punched up. There's certainly enough here to bring me back.
I wanted very badly to like this place, but this is definitely uncharted territory in Cleveland. I think I'm going to wait a couple more months before I go back. It takes some serious balls to do what Sawyer's attempting here. I'll be very interested to see how things evolve over the next few months.