Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Restaurant Review: Bantam + Biddy

Since The Shed at Glenwood is a long time Adventurous Tastes favorite, we were disappointed when we learned Chef Lance Gummere was departing. So it was with great excitement that we went recently to check out his new gig at Bantam + Biddy, opened with restaurateur/chef/and Gummere brother-in-law Shaun Doty.

Bantam + Biddy took over two storefronts in the Ansley shopping center and offers a fast casual chicken-centric menu. When I visited, you ordered at a counter, but they have just switched to table service. Much like Doty's popular Yeah Burger, Bantam + Biddy's space is airy and casual with a stylish but family-friendly dining area.

The menu offers Southern-influenced snacks (think pimento cheese and deviled eggs) as well as rotisserie chickens with a variety of dipping sauces (from bbq to piri piri), other home cooking style entrees (meatloaf, chicken tenders, etc.), salads and sandwiches. Breakfast is now also on offer everyday.

We kicked things off with the excellent deviled eggs and chicken liver on toast. I love a good deviled egg, and these delivered with bold seasoning. I left the Mr. to his beloved chicken liver as I am never a fan, and he scarfed it down with alacrity.

Chef Gummere was kind enough to send out some poutine as well. Poutine is a French Canadian classic-- fries, duckfat in this case, served with cheese curds and gravy. The Mr. and I ventured last year to Montreal and tried several well known variations on this dish, and I can honestly say I enjoyed B+B's incredibly delicious version more than any I even tried in Canada. Maybe it's the duck fat? They were gooey decadence, and I'm *almost* ashamed to admit that we ate nearly the entire huge order.

A chicken pot pie and a side of mac 'n cheese were comfort food in the extreme. Both were hearty and mildly seasoned enough for even the pickiest eaters (read: kids).

Pork schnitzel was one of Chef Gummere's mainstays at The Shed, and it appears on B+B's menu as well. Perfectly crisped and light with a smattering of peanuts and onion salad, it was just as good as I've come to expect from him.

The chef also sent out rotisserie chicken for us to try since it's one of their main offerings. The skin was crisp and the meat was tender and juicy. I'd like to try it next time with the piri piri or beer mustard. B+B is doing a brisk take-out business, and a this sure beats the heck out of the bland grocery rotisserie chickens we normally pick up.

Speaking of take out, we live relatively nearby (in Va-Hi), and I'm thrilled to have a new take-out appropriate option of this caliber. You can only go to Mediterranean Grill or Pita Palace so many times before you're dying for something else, and the Morningside/Highlands hood was begging for a new reasonably priced option.

This spot also offers a case of mini-pies to choose from. We shared a scrumptious banoffee pie, and I appreciated that it was just the right size to have a little taste of something sweet but not feel stuffed. Unlike most fast casuals, B+B also has a pretty impressive cocktail list. The Mr. had a Spiced Orchard, a bourbon and apple cider combo. I tried a sip, and it was so tasty and full of fall flavor that I was desperately sad that I'm kicking it mocktail style these days.

Clearly we enjoyed our meal. I liked the laid back vibe, perfect for popping in after work to pick up take out or a low key dinner with your honey. The dishes are simple but made delicious with skillful preparation and quality ingredients. There's already plenty of buzz about Doty's planned second chicken spot, and we heard from Doty himself that he's taking a serious look at the Ponce City Market development. Bring it on!

Bantam & Biddy on Urbanspoon

*Full disclosure: Although my meal was comped, I always endeavor to offer my unbiased opinion of the experience!

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