Hovering somewhere around 6 feet 5 inches tall, with a thundering laugh and a welcoming smile, Loft & Cellar’s Executive Chef Greg Collier is a man that commands a room. So it comes as no surprise that when the 2019 James Beard Foundation semifinalist joined forces with executive sous chefs Calvin Wright and Oscar Johnson, the food they brought to the table did the same. You can expect diverse and savory flavors, flawlessly complimented by the handiwork of Bar Chef Stephen Marshall.
There is a little something for every palate on the innovative, family-style Sunday Supper menu, which launches April 21. Each dish on the spring menu is meant to be served (and devoured) family-style. And yes, you will be devouring it. The only problem you might have, besides deciding who is picking Granny up on the way, is trying to choose which of the mouthwatering dishes you are going to eat.
This is a highlight reel of what you can expect to see this spring from the bold minds behind Loft & Cellar’s Sunday Supper menu:
Chesapeake Deviled Eggs: Topped with blue crab, trinity relish, and an old bay chip. If it were me, I’d order two servings — for myself, forget the family.
Duck Fritters: Duck Confit, sweet potato mayo, beet chow chow.
Loft Sliders: Nashvegas hot chicken, watermelon, house pickle, chicken fat aioli.
Rainbow Trout: Pan-seared with seasonal vegetables. If you like seafood, make sure you ask about their “Fresh Catch.”
Smoked Lamb Pasta: Smoked lamb, sweet potato pappardelle, mint harissa, peas, pickled mushrooms.
Sea Scallops: Seared scallops, grit cakes, romesco verde, kola peanuts, confit sweet potato.
The Bluegrass: Fried walnut pie, buttermilk jam, and chocolate mousse.
Sorghum Seasame Cake: Brown butter ice cream, benne seed crumble, sherry vinegar gastrique.
Spring Cocktails: Pride & Patience
Pride is a rum-based cocktail with lemon, Grassroots Artisanal Kola, Grassroots Artisanal Grenadine, thyme and bitters.
Patience is a botanical gin based cocktail with lime, lemon, vanilla, and almond cream, rosemary Syrup, orange flower water and egg white.
Maybe it was the sun streaming through the broad front windows, the fried chicken skins, or the cocktails … but there is something surprisingly warm and inviting about the delightfully unassuming concrete building near Romare Bearden Park. The cozy feeling doesn’t stop at the food or aesthetic though. What sets this restaurant apart is the people. There is something distinctly familial about the small-yet-mighty team behind Loft & Cellar’s Afro-Southern inspired menu, and you can taste a little bit of “home” in each carefully constructed dish. I am a firm believer that those Chesapeake deviled eggs are so drop dead delicious because they are made with a little bit of love … though the blue crab doesn’t hurt either.
Wednesday’s menu tasting featured a brief and frank conversation about the importance of knowing who you are — as a person, as a restaurant and as a community. It is safe to say that Collier and his team have it figured out. The quiet confidence with which Collier, arguable the city’s most accomplished chef, eagerly and genuinely asks for and embraces feedback speaks for itself. It is a product of knowing who you are and accepting that there will still always be room for improvement. (Except for the deviled eggs — those he has perfected).
Fun fact — if you call two of your closest friends you can try almost everything on the four-course Sunday Supper menu for $35 each. Between the food, the wine list and the conversation you may just want to go ahead and block off the whole afternoon.
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