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With a commitment to nose-to-tail cookery and a fine selection of accessible-but-atypical cuts, this "Southern Public House" has already reached legendary status. James and Julie Petrakis' latest venture (now available only to ticketed airline passengers, as it's behind security at MCO) serves terrific nouveau-Southern fare -- grilled lamb heart, ethereal pork belly, foie gras-stuffed quail and a country-ham tasting flight, to name just a few. Pair your meal with a house-made brew or craft cocktail.

Defying the demise of so many soul-food kitchens of late, Chef Eddie's steps up and represents with arguably the best comfort fare in the city. Smothered pork chops, saucy oxtails, chicken and waffles, chunky mashed potatoes, jalapeno crackling muffins - all will eliicit superlatives, And there's nothing healthy about the gravy-drizzled friedn green tomatoes atop cheesy grits, but man they;re good. Closed Mondays.

The Ritz-Carlton’s farm-to-table resto caters to the city’s food-conscious millennials with Southern-inspired dishes employing local, farm-fresh ingredients. While some flavor and texture combinations need to be worked on (blackened grouper with an incompatible hominy ragout, for example), you’ll mostly find competently executed plates of comfort food issuing from Mark Jeffers’ kitchen. You won’t go wrong with a starter of duck and andouille gumbo, followed by an outstanding skirt steak, capped with sticky toffee pudding for dessert. Don’t miss ham-hock-infused boiled peanuts.

To celebrate their third birthday, House of Blues has strayed a bit from its Southern menu, introducing dishes that might be based on Delta traditions but have taken a few detours.

First, some HOB dining secrets. After listening to the "30-minute wait" speech and getting a beeper from the hostess, you should stroll around back to the Voodoo Garden. It overlooks the lake, there's live music, and – best of all – there's often an empty table. Second: The Voodoo Garden music ends at 10 p.m., when it becomes a very peaceful place to dine. The last secret? Order extra rosemary corn bread – even at $3.95 – since it's moist, crunchy and satisfying.

First, some HOB dining secrets. After listening to the "30-minute wait" speech and getting a beeper from the hostess, you should stroll around back to the Voodoo Garden. It overlooks the lake, there's live music, and – best of all – there's often an empty table. Second: The Voodoo Garden music ends at 10 p.m., when it becomes a very peaceful place to dine. The last secret? Order extra rosemary corn bread – even at $3.95 – since it's moist, crunchy and satisfying.

The staple "seafood gumbo" ($3.95 a cup) has a flavorful soup base, which takes a lot of concentration to notice, since the slightly burnt taste of blackened seasonongs masks everything. With almost none of the promised ingredients showing up (andouille sausage, shrimp, oysters and crawfish are listed, but you couldn't prove it by me), it's not the enjoyable dish it could be.

The staple "seafood gumbo" ($3.95 a cup) has a flavorful soup base, which takes a lot of concentration to notice, since the slightly burnt taste of blackened seasonongs masks everything. With almost none of the promised ingredients showing up (andouille sausage, shrimp, oysters and crawfish are listed, but you couldn't prove it by me), it's not the enjoyable dish it could be.

Options for appetizers include "Caribbean jerk chicken wings in Pickapepper sauce" ($8.95) and "seared Gulf shrimp with Blackened Voodoo Beer" ($10.25). For the latter, six decent-sized shrimp come coated in a dark, spicy sauce, the deep flavor accented by a mound of radish sprouts. It's a good precursor of the interesting combinations of textures and flavors to follow.

Options for appetizers include "Caribbean jerk chicken wings in Pickapepper sauce" ($8.95) and "seared Gulf shrimp with Blackened Voodoo Beer" ($10.25). For the latter, six decent-sized shrimp come coated in a dark, spicy sauce, the deep flavor accented by a mound of radish sprouts. It's a good precursor of the interesting combinations of textures and flavors to follow.

For the "ahi tuna salad" ($10.95), rare slices of quickly seared tuna are wound around a heap of red cabbage and topped in a drizzle of wasabi mayonnaise. The fish is sushi-grade and splendid, and while the cabbage is a bit too oversoyed, the crisp texture offsets the buttery feel of the fish.

For the "ahi tuna salad" ($10.95), rare slices of quickly seared tuna are wound around a heap of red cabbage and topped in a drizzle of wasabi mayonnaise. The fish is sushi-grade and splendid, and while the cabbage is a bit too oversoyed, the crisp texture offsets the buttery feel of the fish.

Some of the so-called "Southern specials" come from South Elsewhere. I don't think any bayou cook has ever rustled up a mess of "chicken and penne pasta with wild mushroom cream sauce and Gouda cheese" ($14.95). The "grilled rosemary chicken" ($14.95) comes nicely charcoaled and juicy, along with mashed potatoes that are richly creamy and wonderfully lumpy at the same time, and perfect, tender sautéed asparagus.

Some of the so-called "Southern specials" come from South Elsewhere. I don't think any bayou cook has ever rustled up a mess of "chicken and penne pasta with wild mushroom cream sauce and Gouda cheese" ($14.95). The "grilled rosemary chicken" ($14.95) comes nicely charcoaled and juicy, along with mashed potatoes that are richly creamy and wonderfully lumpy at the same time, and perfect, tender sautéed asparagus.

Our attentive server recommended the "white chocolate banana bread pudding" (all desserts $5.95). CrÈme anglaise and dark-chocolate drizzles accent the muffinlike pudding, but by the time we got to the car I felt several pounds heavier. Try the "sweet potato cheesecake" for something lighter.

Our attentive server recommended the "white chocolate banana bread pudding" (all desserts $5.95). CrÈme anglaise and dark-chocolate drizzles accent the muffinlike pudding, but by the time we got to the car I felt several pounds heavier. Try the "sweet potato cheesecake" for something lighter.

HOB will always be a theme restaurant, but this theme has the food to back it up.

Lowe's Good Eaton may be open seven days a week, but there's no better time to sample the restaurant's dishes than Sunday afternoons, when worshippers dressed in their Sunday best cross the street from Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in the heart of Eatonville and head straight to Shea Lowe's soul-food sitdown. The famished masses pay no heed to the menu board near the entrance ' most know exactly what they crave ' and make a beeline for the steam table toward the back of the restaurant to confirm their selection is available. The scene is one of animated anticipation: suited men and chapeau'ed ladies getting their fill of in-line hobnobbing before getting their fill of Southern cookery. 

A Caribbean influence is immediately noticeable, with items like curry chicken ($7.50) and 'slap yo' mommaâ?� oxtails ($7.99) simmering under the glass. That's because Lowe's wife hails from Jamaica, and the menu includes some of her family recipes. The oxtails, supposedly so good that they might spur a bout of maternal abuse, didn't make me want me to sock my mother, but they were worthy of giving my cousin a good shove. While flavorful, they weren't as fall-off-the-bone tender as I would've liked; there are plenty of Caribbean joints in town ' Timehri, Shakera's and Golden Krust ' that do the dish better. Sides of macaroni and cheese and sweet corn, on the other hand, were spot-on. The curry chicken had the obligatory infusion of allspice and turmeric to give it the island essence, and even the rice was identical to the sort you'd find at a Caribbean restaurant. For added zest, squeeze bottles of homemade pepper sauce fashioned by the head cook ' Miss Kim, whose Thai heritage lent the hot sauce its distinct bite ' yielded a bit of heat and a lot of flavor.

Of the traditional Southern offerings, three pieces of fried chicken ($2.99) were cheap and superbly gratifying, the crisp skin and slick resplendence of white and dark meat delightfully sticky and messy. Smothered pork chops ($7.59) drew comparisons to the ones served up at Johnson's Diner, which we found to be more tender and a little better-seasoned. But Lowe's chops are still a plateful of comfort, no doubt, especially when accompanied with a heap of mashed potatoes and green beans. The coup de grâce is sopping the thick gravy up with arguably the best corn bread in the city. Other sides, like black-eyed peas and steamed cabbage, are also perfectly executed. It should be noted that because many of her customers don't eat pork, Miss Kim will occasionally season her peas with smoked turkey or, in the case of collards, green beans and cabbage, with vegetable-based spices.

If you make it out on a Friday or Saturday, you may find Lowe hovering over a batch of his special ribs ($9.99), which he slow-cooks over an open charcoal grill. Desserts are a tad hard to come by. It took three visits before I was able to sample the sweet potato pie ($1.75), but it was well worth the wait. The pie wasn't overly spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon, but had an almost floral essence. Just as wonderful was Miss Kim's banana pudding ($2.50), with its just-right thickness and consistency.

And after sampling Lowe's fare, the same could be said about my belly.

Stylish Sanford soul-food joint sells a 1-pound burger that’ll knock your socks off, though affable proprietor Shantell Williams also perfectly executes chicken and waffles, fried flounder and fried okra. Some items, like a mac-and-cheese-topped portobello mushroom and fried Jamaican beef patties, are atypical but noteworthy nonetheless. Desserts change daily, but whatever Shantell’s got, get it.
Greg Richie’s imaginative take on Southern classics has made Soco one of downtown’s premier dining destinations, thanks to such renditions as cassoulet of duck confit with boiled peanuts, molasses-glazed hanger steak with smoked brisket hash browns, and hot-smoked cobia with buttermilk potato cakes. Bourbon hounds will appreciate the extensive selection, while those with a penchant for indulgent endings will appreciate oatmeal spice cake with a pink peppercorn whiskey syrup or house-made moon pies served with a vanilla RC Cola float.

What do you make of a restaurant that beckons to customers with the hand-painted words "grapeleaves, hot wings, falafel, Greek salad, french fries and fried chicken" on its front window? And what if the restaurant has been in your periphery for about a decade, as the items were added to the window like a roster of star attractions? Eventually, you might want to try it – so that's what I did, finally stopping into Theo's, a shanty on Michigan Street with a willy-nilly menu of Greek, Syrian and fried Southern specialties.

Theo's has managed to be a subtle, steady spot for regulars to pop in to pick up a family-pack chicken meal with hummus on the side. Inside it's awash in bright-blue booths and decorated with Greek Orthodox paraphernalia; it's been around for so long it feels lived-in and homey but not in an accommodating sort of way.

The woman behind the counter will take your order then proceed to the kitchen to make your food. Her young daughter will watch you. It's that kind of place. I took a haphazard approach to ordering, getting one of just about everything. The gyro ($4.29), a standard pita wrapped around compressed lamb meat, was better than the shawarma ($4.49), a tahini-laden sandwich, or the less-than-spectacular but good-value hummus ($2.99).

Surprisingly, what made my multinational meal stand out was the fried chicken, which was superbly seasoned then fried in peanut oil. Chicken selections range from a two-piece snack for $2.35 to a 21-piece family dinner for $25.99. Even the chicken livers ($4.49) are great. Forget KFC – Theo's is much better. And you can finish off with a toothsome baklava ($1.99).

So, what to make of Theo's? Stick with the fried chicken at this Syrian/Greek establishment, and you can't go wrong.

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