55 SOUTH reviewed by ELLIS
55 South is a New Orleans-style restaurant from the same people that brought us Sol and Red Pony in Franklin, two of my favorite restaurants in the Nashville area (and soon to be reviewed for Eat It, Tennessee). 55 South was the last of these three that I went to, and the reason for this was simply because I either wasn’t in the mood for seafood (it’s an oyster bar) or it was packed (usually the case). The restaurant is connected to Sol, and isn’t a terribly big place: the front is a bar with some bar seating and a few tables, but really caters to the “happy hour”, “oyster bar” crowd after work. However, there is some seating in the second room, and my wife and I joined my in-laws for a mid-week bite.
I ordered the Fried Pork Chop Sandwich, which is quoted in the menu as “Man this is good”. I have to agree with the menu’s sentiment. The sandwich was much like a “Nawlins” po’boy, with crusty bread, jalapenos, avocado, mayo, and hot sauce on top of crispy perfectly-cooked pork goodness. The combination of the ingredients gave the sandwich a great flavor and, although I’m not usually a fan of spicy food, the jalapenos and hot sauce added some very delicious heat.
But the sweet potato fries were the stars of the show.
I would not be exaggerating if I said that they were the best sweet potato fries I have ever had. They were perfectly cooked, the right balance of fried and potato, and had what appeared to be sugar sprinkled over instead of salt. The sweet/salty combo made for an absolutely divine experience. I got a side of 55 South’s “Comeback sauce”, which is normally served with appetizers, to eat with both my sandwich and fries, and it was awesome on both.
My wife ordered the NOLA BBQ Shrimp, which is served over Blue Cheese Grits. I am not a fan of blue cheese, so I defer to her when it comes to anything blue cheese or gorgonzola. She reported to me that the cheese was a bit overpowering in the grits, and was disappointed in the scarcity of the shrimp; there were only five shrimp or so to balance out the heaping helping of grits. The tanginess of the BBQ next to the savory blue cheese was a bit unsettling. To top it all off, my wife had given up potatoes temporarily and wasn’t able to taste any of my sweet potato fries. Pretty easy to say who came out on top in this food battle.
My mother-in-law ordered a cup of the Seafood Gumbo, which had a lot of rice but was pretty good. If I ordered my own serving, I would put more hot sauce in it to give it a much-needed kick. Definitely worth a try for an appetizer.
Overall, the experience at 55 South is a good one. My experience at 55 South was probably 4 to 4.5 stars, but the overall ranking is affected by my wife’s displeasure with her dish. I do believe that 55 South deserves another trip to get its rating up.
Similar to Red Pony and Sol, the restaurant has a great atmosphere and would be a very cool place to hang out after work for drinks and a bite to eat. I didn’t order any drinks, so I’m not sure about the beer selection, but I would certainly go back to give it a try. If its crowded, take the opportunity to walk around downtown Franklin — voted the best small town in Tennessee. And 55 South is one of the reasons why.