A Way Down South (Again): Wishbone
We had 7:30 reservations at Wishbone, but left pretty early because of the quantum nature of the Dan Ryan nowadays. Naturally, our chute north was well greased and even my failure to remember that one could not possibly turn left from Belmont on to Lincoln, coupled with the eternal search for parking, still had us at a table in the "adults only" section 20 minutes early.
The interior of the restaurant is likely to be something one either likes or hates. It's on the warm, primary-colored side of kitschy. Some of the fixtures are a bit too-too (like the fried egg lamps), but others are cute enough (I was a fan of the chicken-wired tube fixtures) and I definitely loved most of the mural work. In addition, the back hallway leading to the restrooms and kitchen featured art for sale by a number of people. There was a particularly striking oil painting called "Phoenicia" that I liked.
As for the core competencies of a restaurant, Wishbone swung and missed by having a broken blender and keeping me from my champagne cocktail. I had a "metropolitan" instead, that was fine, and a good glass of pinot noir with my meal. M had something with SoCo that I declined to try.
For our appetizer, we shared a corn cake with spicy shrimp. It was phenomenally good with its creamy texture and a spicy jalapeño bite blending with the slightly sweet corn. A wedge of the cake with a shrimp on top and some of the accompanying crema was just heaven.
The base menu is not especially large, but there is a generous specials section that seems to change daily. M had the meatloaf, because he hates me an wishes to drive me away (I broke out of nursery school over the issue of meatloaf; in all seriousness, though, I tried a bite, and it was not immediately vomit inducing, which is a big compliment coming from me). I opted for the crab cakes. And, of course, it's all about the sides, too. Based on our highly successful brush with Wishbone on New Year's Eve, I opted for the hoppin' john and the mac and cheese. M had a huge cup of cheese grits (I don't know how they do it, but Wishbone has a gift for taking the gritty unpleasantness out of both cornmeal and grits, bless them) and the mashed potatoes and gravy.
For dessert, he had bread pudding, which he, once again kept safely on his side of the table, and I had a positively scrumptious chocolate pecan pie a la mode (the vanilla ice cream was also exceptionally good). Everything was, as advertised, tasty comfort food. There's not a lot that makes the food stand out particularly, but it's flavorful, food, nicely prepared and presented, and a good option for a not-especially-fancy-or-expensive night out.
After dinner, we drove up to the Landmark Century Centre Cinema for the 10:05 showing of The Host. Scoring street parking north of Roosevelt Road twice in one night is enough to make one look up, expecting every minute to see the toilet seat from the space shuttle hurtling toward one, but we managed it. Having about an hour to kill, we walked down to Duke's for a drink. M had something that was basically a long island iced tea + Jaegermeister and Red Bull. It says . . . well . . . something about the Red Bull that the ghost of its flavor is evident over and above even Jaegermeister.
Next up: The Host.