Commerce Kitchen has long been on my list of places to try. So when the hubby and I were looking for a place to meet Lady A for dinner before catching a show at the VBC, it seemed like a natural choice.
Our rather impulsive scheduling landed us at the restaurant at 5pm on a Saturday, with no reservations. Turns out? Reservations are the way to go, there was no open seating in the dining area until after 8. There was seating in the bar area, however, and we were happy to take out seats there.
The menu was well curated, with the options so enticing I still had trouble deciding. Eventually I decided to go with the buttermilk fried chicken. The hubby opted for an Angus cheeseburger, add the fried egg and gruyere, and Lady A selected the gulf shrimp and grits.
One upside to dining at a bar is availability of freshly mixed cherry coke. I seized the opportunity for the caffeine (and the included cherry garnishes), the hubby went with a diet coke, and Lady A ordered a cocktail.
We chatted while waiting for our food. Piped music played overhead, though it was mostly unintelligible over the chatter. A muted TV played next to the bar. There was enough going on that it seemed like it would be hard to hear, but we had no problem conversing.
Our food came up promptly, each dish gorgeously plated. My entree, shown at the top of this post, featured moist white meat, seasoned with a bit of pepper under the skin, and coated in a light breading that gave a hint of crunch. Despite being fried, it avoided being greasy and instead kept the drier aspect of the breading. The collard greens were served with a sweet dijion sauce that balanced the tangy flavor of the greens themselves. Texturally, they were wilted, but still retained a bit of crispness. Buried under the greens were maple sweet potatoes. The maple added sweetness, but they also had a bit of something spicy that added some zip and lingered on the tongue.
Lady A reported her grits as fantastic! I was surprised to see them loaded down. In addition to the menu’s promised cream sauce and bacon, there were also tomatoes and greens.
The hubby enthused about his burger. It was flavorful! Delicious!
Lady A and I decided to brave the wilds of the dessert menu. We were both torn, and turned to our server to settle it. Based on her good advice, Lady A selected the milk chocolate bourbon pecan pie and I opted for the chocolate cheesecake with berries.
My cheesecake was dense and creamy, with a silky chocolate flavor. The star was the crust. Made of tightly compressed crumbs with a rich, dark chocolate flavor, it was studded with small chocolate chips which gave it a wonderful bit of crunch. The cake was topped with a light, whipped chocolate icing and served with a small dollop of freshly made whipped cream and a single fresh strawberry. A single berry wasn’t really what I was picturing when the menu said “berries”, but it was tasty all the same.
Lady A’s dessert looked divine and disappeared in a flash.
We greatly enjoyed our trip to Commerce Kitchen. The food was well done–updated favorites given an extra little bit of oopmh by playing with flavor combinations. Our server was friendly and engaging. There was a bit of problem with the register that delayed our check, but she was upfront in telling us and kept us updated. The cheesecake was solid, but not amazing, and I was hoping for amazing. It was a touch too dense, the icing a bit too superfluous to be truly great. Still, Commerce Kitchen is a fantastic option for a fancier dinner at an appealing price point. We will absolutely be back and I’m very excited to see that they offer a Sunday brunch.
Total for the meal: $52.38 (includes one buttermilk fried chicken entree, one angus hamburger with optional fried egg and guryere, one slice of chocolate cheesecake, and two soft drinks)
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