We’ve been bad bloggers. See, we’ve been sitting on this review of South End for a while. A looooong while. And we have no good reason for it because South End was good. Very good. It just seemed that whenever we would sit down to write it, something else came up…until now. In a moment of non-urgency we bring you South End…
Before we get into our meal, we’d like to talk a bit about what South End is all about: Seasonal comfort food. This brilliant idea was born from the passion of two guys who are no strangers to good food. Let’s start with Chef Nick Martschenko. Back in 1998 he graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and worked at Tom Colicchio’s Gramercy Tavern. He has also worked at Solaia in Greenwich and the old Market in Stamford. And, most recently, Chef Martschenko did an amazing job at Winged Food Golf Club in Mamaroneck, being honored with an excellent rating from the McMahon Group. Working with Chef Martschenko as a partner and General Manager is Keith Siskind, who we had the pleasure of meeting. He built up some major street cred by working on Long Island (represent Strong Island!), and Tarry Lodge in Port Chester.
So, onto the reason you’re all here…the food. Oh wait, no, one last thing before the food. The service – the service here was really good. Quick (but not rushing us out at all), friendly, attentive, and thorough. Overall just a very pleasant experience.
Ok, ok, noooow onto the food. We started off with a nice assortment of freshly-baked bread including olive bread, rosemary focaccia bread, and regular Italian bread. Next we, of course, ordered a bottle of wine. The wines are a bit on the expensive side, starting at $31, but there was a nice selection. Now a breakdown of the meal:
Heirloom Tomato Salad: Buffalo mozzarella, tomato gelee, aged balsamic, basil gelato
This is like no other heirloom tomato salad that we’ve had or that you probably have ever tried. The buffalo mozzarella (soft, fresh) was served with a bright basil gelato on top that was very refreshing. The tomato gelee was a small cube, but was intense, like eating jello made with pure tomato. The tomatoes served with the dish seemed to be fresh off the vine and were beautiful, especially with the pesto and vinegar served on the side.
Prosciutto Wrapped Fig: Stuffed with Coach Farms goat cheese, grapes, and saba syrup
Beautiful. It was wrapped so well it looked like a rose. So simple and fresh, not overdone. Kristien said it could’ve used more goat cheese, but she does admittedly have a goat cheese addiction problem. The bacon was crispy on the outside. Very nice all around.
Griddled Fresh Bacon: Mustard greens, spaetzle, peach chutney, sherry sauce.
This spaetzle was great with some caramelized action. They were large, firm, yet still retained a nice airiness. The bacon (more like pork belly) was delicate, smoky, earthy, rich, and full of flavor. The peach made the dish come more alive and was a great contrast. Pork lover’s dish for sure.
Nonna’s Meatballs: Made with pork, veal, and ricotta
Served with grilled provolone stuffed bread, mmm. They aren’t shy with the sauce at all, which was just a bit sweet… the way we like it. The meatballs were juicy and full of flavor, but maybe a bit too meaty/dense.
House Made Orecchiette (on special): Ground Italian sausage, broccoli rabe, crushed red chiles
One of Dan’s favorite dishes, the pasta was served al dente and had a nice give to it. A nice kick of spice hits you with a beautiful and buttery sauce. The brocoli rabe was cooked perfectly and the sausage was fresh and amazing. We loved this dish.
Raspberry and Nectarine Cobbler: Streusel topping with toasted almond ice cream
The toasted almond ice cream is vibrant and adds a nice punch to the dish. The fruit is crispy not soft, probably because it was made fresh instead of from frozen. The dish, also, wasn’t too sweet which is often our major complaint of cobblers. We’d definitely order this one again.
Citrus Laced Canoli: Mascarpone cheese, marinated strawberries, basil syrup
Not your standard canoli. The cheese is creamy and light, definitely lighter than what you’d expect. Also, rather than a thick crust, the cheese is swaddled by a thin tuile shell that is crispy and oh so light. What really made this dish pop was taking bites here and there with the strawberries or basil syrup. As if that wasn’t enough, you also get little bits of peanut brittle on the side. It wasn’t too hard at all and full of a lovely caramel taste. YUM!
South End is definitely a restaurant that you need to hit up. Since we first visited, they have expanded their hours and now offer brunch. Also, they have started hosting special dinners like the Warm Your Soul event. We’re not alone in thinking that this place is great, though. We’re friends with some local chefs on Facebook and they were also raving about loving it at South End. We can’t wait to head back to South End, especially because Chef Martschenko keeps things fun, creative, and seasonal by switching up the menu quite often.
Have you been to South End? What did you think?