Tuesday, May 5, 2015

     The Macintosh, located at 479 King Street, ranks high on my list of "Go To" restaurants for creative, locally sourced cuisine.  Executive Chef Jeremiah Bacon and his talented staff combine taste, texture and presentation with a twist, offering something for everyone on their daily-changing menu.
     As they are supplied by all of my favorite purveyers of quality meats, fish, vegetables and grains (Kennerty, Ambrose and Keegan Filion Farms, Clammer Dave, Mepkin Abbey,  Geechie Boy Mill and Evo Bakery, to name a few), dining at The Macintosh is like having a long conversation with your best friend: comfortable, satisfying and invigorating.
     With service that is personal and friendly and food that is meticulously and thoughtfully prepared, Macintosh chefs please the palate and nourish the body.  That said, they also have fun with their dishes, throwing caution to the wind with their Bone Marrow Bread Pudding.
     A crispy, brown outside that surrounds a pillow-soft inside, and a taste that is both buttery and earthy, Macintosh's Bone Marrow Bread Pudding almost defies description...
                                                                                                                  in a word, it is sinful.
   The Macintosh offers complimentary valet service in front of their sister restaurant O-Ku.  But as it was a beautiful night, we parked at the Visitor's Center parking garage and strolled down Ann Street to King Street instead.   Arriving before our reservation time, we enjoyed the lively atmoshere in the bar area, where we chatted with a lovely couple from California and cheered loudly with the excited crowd as the horses thundered around the track at the Kentucky Derby.  My dining partner celebrated his horse's nearly last-place finish with delicious Woodford Reserve mint juleps, which took the sting out of his loss.
     Our server, Ben, was very helpful.  He gave us detailed menu item descriptions and entree suggestions and seemed to be everywhere at once, checking on us, filling our glasses, and clearing used plates.  We tried three starters, two at his suggestion.  The Sautéed Scallops with spring onions, arugula, ground pistachios, rhubarb and oxtail tortellini were my dining partner's favorite.  The scallops were nicely grilled and the oxtail tortellini were rich and savory.  The pistachios added the texture contrast.
     The Spring Vegetables were a chef's choice that we particularly enjoyed.  The radishes and beets were sliced paper thin, the asparagus and sugar snap peas were appropriately crunchy,  and the pickled spring onions were a tart foil for the salty Feta cheese sprinkled throughout.  A delicate, edible blossom made the dish esthetically pleasing, as well as tasty.
     My choice for a starter was the deep-fried Sweetbreads, dotted with Benne seeds.  Also served with sugar snap peas, the generous portion of sweetbreads were crispy outside and smooth inside.  Maitake mushrooms and a fish sauce caramel finished the dish and made it my favorite of the three starters we tried.
     We asked our server what the house specialty was and were pleased to hear it was the CAB Deckle, a tender and delicious cut of meat that is prepared differently each night at The Macintosh.  Our deckle was sliced and served over hominy with okra, fava beans (quite nice), and mushrooms.  A Bordelaise reduction sauce swept around the plate and added a hearty finish to each bite.
     My entrée was the Seared Snapper, two buttery pieces of firm fish that were so perfectly prepared that they reminded me of the delectable fish that used to be served at Carolina's.  (Charlestonians will know what I mean!)  The Snapper was easily my favorite part of the meal, surrounded as it was by chunks of roasted beets (very good), smoked potatoes, celeriac, barley and baby raab.  Also in the mix were pickled clams which added a sharp, tangy edge to the dish, while dipping each bite in the saffron vanilla sauce brought out the sweet.
     Speaking of sweet, we had a tiny bit of room left for dessert and chose the Candy Bar in a Jar and the Banana Bread Pudding.  I enjoyed the Candy Bar in a Jar, a thick layer of hot fudge, topped by a roasted peanut nougat and crumbled vanilla shortbread.  This dessert was served in a half pint canning jar, which was the perfect size for a dessert that sweet.
     The Banana Bread Pudding was pleasing for two reasons.  First, it actually had a deep, rich banana  flavor, something that banana dishes often advertise but rarely deliver.  Second, the pudding was topped with a creamy, malted milk chocolate ice cream which was a delight.  Add crunchy, toffee-cocoa crumb and you have a home-run dessert.
     Many thanks to The Macintosh for a tremendous dining experience.  We will be back soon.

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