Forgive us readers, for we have sinned. It has been far too long since our last visit to South End Uncorked over the summer when we tried their cocktails and we must confess, we were complete idiots to wait this long. Why? Because (spoiler alert) it’s amazing! Not that we had any doubt since we’ve experienced the magic of Chef (and owner) Nick Martschenko and Director of Operations and mixologist extraordinaire Michelle Mauro at their other New Canaan restaurant, South End.
But, we knew it was time to do our penance, so we made a date over the holidays to try it out with our fellow food lovers & friends from Local Food Rocks (their review’s here), Alicia and Renato. And when we say “try it out” we mean drink their entire cocktail menu, including downing shots with Nick and Michelle until the place practically closed down, and eating 3/4 of their entire food menu (and loving every minute of it). So while we think of some way to do penance for our new sin, extreme gluttony, check out all the OmNomable details in the slideshows and tasting notesbelow. And then be sure to get yo’selves there STAT for a fun and lively night with an absolutely perfect meal from pre-dinner drinks all the way through dessert.
Cocktails and Shots
One: apple cider, mint jalapeno, lemon, mezcal. There’s a nice kick to this drink from the jalapeno, which is balanced nicely with the spiced sweetness of the cider. The mezcal brings a nice, slightly smoky finish. This was one of our favorites of the night.
Two: tequila & sparkling pink lemonade, salty spicy rim. This is their most popular drink, and it’s clear why: it goes down so smoothly. Tooooo smoothly. It’s not overly sweet and has a nice bubbly punch.
Three: apple pie moonshine, pilsner, apple juice. This guy is cinnamon forward, light, refreshing, but definitely still packs a punch. Like all the other drinks, there’s a nice balance in flavors and sweetness.
Four: bourbon, cranberry, grapefruit. Oh yes, our absolute fave of the night. It’s sweet, it has a tart finish, it’s juicy, and has that satisfying bourbon backbone that warms ya up.
Five: red wine, strawberry & persimmon mash. This was definitely a twist on your traditional sangria. It had a nice rosy and brown sugar undertone to it but we weren’t fans of the persimmon in it. It brought an odd, tomato-esque taste that we didn’t think worked in a sangria.
Irish Root Beer: amaretto & Kahlua, Guinness. Just plop the shot in and drink it up! The best part is the end where that almondy flavor comes through and brings out root beer-ish flavors. Definitely better than your standard Irish Carbomb.
Deconstructed Mojito: mint jello, rum, lime. Put the jello in yo mouth, take the shot, swallow it up together. So good, so yummy. You could get toasted all night on this.
Orangechata: tequila, orange, cinnamon sugar. This is modified a bit from when we had it over the summer, but we think it tasted even better this time. Take a sip, then a smack of orange. Boom. The tequila is so clean, so smooth, plus we really like the cinnamon coming through with the orange bringing a citrusy finish.
ALLROADS LEAD TO JAMESON: with a beer back. Pretty simple here, boys and girls . . . take a shot of Jameson! Normally they use Miller High Life, but shipments weren’t in on time so we finished it off with Coronitas!
Snacks, Sides, Greens, Plates, and Sweets
Buffalo Rock Shrimp w/ blue cheese dipper. The Buffalo sauce was definitely in there, but it wasn’t oversauced. Just the right amount to add a kick of flavor, plus the shrimp were so delicate and cooked just right.
Fried Cheese Curds: beer battered with siracha aioli. Hot damn these were good. Crispy batter with that nice malty hint. When you bite down those curds just string out into beautiful bits of loveliness.
Steamed Pork Buns: pickled zucchini & carrots, house kimchee. We love a good pork bun and this did NOT dissapoint. The bun was fluffy and pillowy and the meat was rich, highlighted nicely with the deep flavor of hosin. The kimchee on the side adds a nice contrast and cuts the darker flavors going on in this dish.
Hamachi Nachos: yucca chips, citrus, micro cilantro. Fresh fish served on top of crispy and crunchy yucca chips with a punch from cilantro: what’s not to love? Great little bites to start off a meal that won’t weigh you down. This reminded us of a nice ceviche.
Crispy Tuna Taco: tomatillo & avocado salsa, pickld jalapeno. Without a question, one of our favorites from the night. There’s a crispy shell underneath a heaping pile of awesome, fresh tuna that’s covered in a rich and vibrant sauce. The cilantro and jalapenos added a nice punch to this dish. We so need this again in our lives.
Lobster Lollipops with chili lime butter: Exactly like you’d think, it’s lobster on a stick . . . but so much more than that. Perfectly cooked, bright and fresh lime dressing, plus a nice little smokiness from char on the grill.
Dora’s Corn Empanadas: braised chicken, tomato, green sauce dipper. The tapicoa corn batter made for a nice crunch going down, surrounded by some delicate chicken. The sauce was fresh, vibrant, citrusy, and the cilantro added that little pop that we love.
Roasted Heirloom Cauliflower: cumin, goat yogurt, sumac, pickled mustard seeds. The sumac and yogurt bring a nice tart and tangy kick to the “al dente” florets that have just the right amount of snap to them while not being soggy. The perfect way to eat your vegetables!
Chicken Liver Toast: red onion bacon jam, soft boiled egg. In terms of pate, this is the best we’ve had, but we’re still not fans . . . nothing against Nick or any other chef who makes this or those who enjoy it. Just not our thing. We do know that it was very creamy, helped along by the addition of some foie gras. In addition, that bacon jam was just killer good and the egg added a nice runny contrast.
Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad: toasted pine nuts, broken Ceaser dressing. No meal is complete in our books without Brussels Sprouts, ammiright? So, what makes it broken, you ask? Well, Chef doesn’t let it get emulsified. The flavors are bright, citrusy, and there’s a nice toastiness coming off of the pine nuts. This was light and refreshing, too, so if you want to take things easier, this is a great choice.
Shrimp & Grits: Anson Mills stone ground grits, Cabot cheddar, fresh shrimp, Benton’s ham. Ohhhh myyyyyy. Creamy grits with a nice hit of fattiness and slices of ham throughout adding some saltiness. The shrimp were cooked just perfect, too. A really excellent dish we could eat by the bowlful.
Hand Cut Fries with Parmesan Cheese and Housemade Ketchup. Crispy, crunchy, and potato-y inside. The ketchup reminds us of that rich and rustic flavor you get from Sunday Gravy. Sick.
UC Cheesesteak “With”: sliced ribeye, American cheese, hand cut fries. If you’ve been to Philly and you’ve ordered a cheeseteak, you’ll know that if you ask for “wit” that means you’re ordering with onions. If you don’t order with onions, you’re banned from our blog. Get out. Seriously. NOW. But, back to this cheesesteak. Holy crap, people, this was awesome. It was rich, the cheese had a great texture, the steak was full of flavor, and the bread had a nice crunch to it. Not gonna lie, took some home with us and had for a very nice breakfast.
Uncorked Double Double Cheeseburger: SE burger sauce, house made ketchup, zucchini pickles, hand cut fries. The patty was juicy and oozed out flavor (and cheese). There was loads of unctous, fatty flavors coming out that contrasted nicely with the fresh and fun zucchini pickles. Perfectly, cooked too . . . this is a burger you want to eat NOW.
Yellowfin Tuna: white beans, Spanish chorizo, baby kale, clam butter. Dan’s major weakness is a beautifully seared tuna . . . so when this plate showed up, he nearly lost his mind even though we were pushing the limits of our stomachs. This was such a delicate dish that had some nice contrast with the creamy white beans and the smoky chorizo.
Old School Ice Box Cake. The crust was buttery and crumbly, while the filling was creamy, rich and chocolately. Very nice way to end, but we wish we had more room for the root beer float or spumoni sundae. Next time! ;)
Although we were invited to try the food at South End Uncorked, our opinions, feelings, words and tasting notes are our own. Yes, it was really this good!
South End Uncorked
Address: 15 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT