There’s just something about simple food done right. Well, at Southern Kin Cookhouse in Somerville, MA they are doing just that. The location opened back in early June 2016 over in the Assembly Row Marketplace. It took me a few months to make it in, but wow!
The restaurant group Boston Nightlife Ventures who is behind Wink & Nod as well as the Tap Trailhouse are the brains of Southern Kin Cookhouse. I truly can’t remember the last time that I saw such a well executed concept. More often than not, when someone goes for such a specific concept, they falter on something whether it be decor, menu or flavors. But Southern Kin got it right all the way down to the staff uniform of jeans and flannel shirts.
First let me say, don’t go here unless you are hungry. There are too many delicious dishes to choose from so you will want to order a smorgasbord. Or at least that is what I have done on each of my visits so far. I have been working my way through their small plates and haven’t been disappointed with anything. One of my favorite bites is probably their Devilish Eggs with their bite of creole mustard and hint of truffle. Such a perfect little bite. But the Bayou Tacos stuffed with succulent morsels of alligator are not too far behind. Another must have are the Hog’n Hooch Biscuits which are almost a pork belly slider. The pork belly is served on a biscuit with a fried green tomato and pickled chilies and the appetizer just melts in your mouth.
I am getting a little ahead of myself though, as I forgot to mention the very first drink that I ordered. When you sidle up to the bar you are handed their Liquid Ledger which features a wonderful collection of bourbon based beverages. I decided to go with an Old Fashion thinking that it was a classic and I knew exactly what I was getting. Well the Southern Kin put their own twist on it. It had a bit of a smoky flavor that was complemented by the pork rind garnish. That’s right, I said pork rind garnish. While I ignored it at first, I was curious, so a quick sip followed by a bite of the garnish proved that a genius combined the two!
There is only one real negative comment I have regarding the experience. When you are waiting for your table, it’s only natural to wait by the bar enjoying a beverage. Since the restaurant has been pretty popular the bar seats are packed so the only place to stand is behind the chairs. Unfortunately this is also the path the service staff takes. On two of my visits, I have been repeatedly bumped into by the staff on their way by. Now the next aisle over is wide open, so the staff should be trained to take a couple of extra steps when it is busy and go around the congestion. Those extra steps are worth it in comparison to irritating your diners who are waiting patiently for their turn to sit down and enjoy the dining experience.
Okay, back to the food…
There are a couple of foods that many of us have either never had or just don’t like the taste of, like “okra” or “pimento cheese”. Well don’t let that deter you from sampling the Fried Okra starter or the Pimento Cheese Fritters. The Chef succeeded in creating a crispy bite that is missing the often slimy trait typically associated with okra. We finished the whole bowl and could have kept eating more. The Fritters were a pleasant surprise as personally I had only heard of pimento cheese when folks were discussing the little sandwiches available at the Masters. The smoky tomato jalapeno marmalade gave this morsel a wonderful spicy tang that left you reaching for another bite.
When it came to the entrees we went for southern staples. I went for a half rack of ribs, which came with a side of some of the best classic mac’n cheese I have ever had. There was also a piece of cornbread that the Chef had taken the time to warm on the flat top giving it a nice crispy outer crust. My dining friends consumed the Shrimp & Grits, Chicken & Waffles, and the Smothered Pork Chop. I admit, I stole a bite of each one before they cleaned every last crumb off their plates.
To round out the meal we needed to have a little dessert of course. Hopefully you like pie! That is what Southern Kin offers for dessert. Well, they do offer six different kinds! Once again we couldn’t come to an agreement so we ordered the Buttermilk, the Mud Pie, and the Key Lime. The Buttermilk Pie was a little disappointing but everything else was delicious.
Still not sure if you want to try them out? Let me add how we ended the night. The Fried Chicken was so good that we ordered a So’Kin Bucket to take home with us. Yup, you read that right, we ate all that food and then ordered more to take home!
Southern Kin Cookhouse
500 Assembly Row
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