Gravy advertises itself as “new Southern cuisine;” I prefer to describe it as a place that is taking traditional Southern cuisine and making a tweak or two. There really isn’t anything all that new and creative about any of the dishes. The space itself is cool, but sort of seems like it’s having an identity crisis. Here you are serving Southern comfort food, but it’s in a colorful, lounge setting that is really large and feels empty. Southern cuisine is supposed to inspire feelings of nostalgia and home, and this restaurant invokes nothing close to that. In a city with thousands of restaurants doing it right, you can’t be just okay and expect people to come back for more. If you’re looking for really good, inventive food inspired by the traditional South, Gravy just isn’t the place.
I-10: Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka, Orange and Peach – the perfect, refreshing complement to a Southern meal. There isn’t much more I could have asked for!
Biscuits: I give up with Northerners trying to make biscuits. I don’t know if it’s the water or the recipe, but biscuits in the North are always far too dense. They taste good because they’re buttery bread products, but they are not biscuits! I think it’s funny because Southerners can’t make bagels and Northerners can’t make biscuits; each should stick to what he knows.
NOLA Waffles: This dish was interesting. You’re served three waffles room temperature, kind of like a sweet cracker, with a side of chicken liver pâté and red onion marmalade. I really liked the flavor and texture combination here. The mix of the pâté with the sweet onion marmalade over the sweet crunchy waffle was really nice. I definitely liked this, but it didn’t necessarily blow me away.
Classic Mac & Cheese: This was an average mac & cheese. It had a nice texture to it, but it was perhaps over-peppered. I didn’t even finish the whole thing and I never leave anything with cheese in it on the table.
Scallops & Honey Grits: With toasted corn relish, arugula and shrimp barbeque jus, this was definitely the best dish of the night. The corn relish and barbeque jus had a great flavor that complemented the scallops and sweet grits well. In general, the scallops were really good and the honey grits were freaking amazing. They were nothing like traditional grits, but I couldn’t stop eating them. They were dense and lacked the porridge element that grits normally have, but the corn and honey flavoring was just really delicious. My only complaint is that the portion of the heavy, thick grits was just too much in general and in proportion to the scallops.
Roasted Long Island Duck: The duck was served up with a green tomato relish, confit yukon hash and poached egg atop. The duck was overcooked and the proportion of the hash to egg just wasn’t right. Normally the idea is you crack open the egg and the yolk is soaked up by the hash underneath, but the egg was much larger than the portion of hash that was underneath it. Overall this dish was okay, but I don’t think I’d ever be ordering it again.
Gravy: 32 East 21st Street New York, NY ($$-$$$)