Imagine five courses of Southern goodness paid with exceptional wines and then finished with dueling desserts. That’s exactly what we experienced when Soco met 4 Rivers Smokehouse during their inaugural South Meets South dinner. I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m seriously rooting for John Rivers to open a fine dining restaurant. Our five-course dinner featured alternating signature dishes from Greg Richie and John Rivers. Each course was the perfect celebration Southern heritage and flavor while incorporating local produce and proteins. Here’s what we tasted and thoroughly enjoyed last week!
Blue Crab Topped Fried Green Tomatoes: Similar to John Rivers’ creation for Chef’s Night with Feed Hope Now, this version was equally tasty and a joy to taste again! Topped with watermelon rind syrup, balsamic reduction and roasted pepper jam it’s a unexpected symphony of Southern flavors you simply won’t find elsewhere. Paired with one of my favorites, La Crema Pinot Gris, the first dish of the night set the tone for an exceptional evening!
Molasses and Soy Glazed Pork Belly: Caramelized watermelon, pickled rind and a bourbon barrel aged soy emulsion. Mini bites of savory bliss presented in a beautiful arrangement. I’m not a huge pork belly lover, but the flavor was perfect and that watermelon was the perfect taste of summer.
Tempura Crisped-Collard Greens Wrapped Tuna Loin: Oh man. Can I have this dish every night please? Thankfully I had two tuna courses since my pregnant friend couldn’t eat anything raw. (Score!) The dish sounds bizarre, but it was hands down one of the best tuna dishes I’ve ever tasted. The tuna was wrapped in tempura battered collared greens and served with mustard seed butter. The smooth tuna mixed with the crunchy tempura was in a word, divine.
Lake Meadows Free Range Chicken: Florida raised chicken topped with bourbon peach glaze, southern succotash and baked grits. All served with a side of the most delicious pimento cheese and jalapeño hushpuppies. Little was said during this course as we were way too busy enjoying the delightful flavors and tender chicken.
Southern Bourbon Pecan Pie Bread Pudding: Saving the best for last totally applies to dessert and particularly to this meal. Two desserts is impressive, but two bread puddings, now that’s just magical. Topped with a praline crumb topping and served with a salted bourbon caramel ice cream. Hello southern savory sweetness.
Local Blueberry Bread Pudding: Topped with Georgia peach whiskey sauce and served with buttermilk ice cream. A perfect pairing to conclude the evening!
Soco and 4 Rivers, please come back with a South Meets South version 2.0 soon!