Chow Down Grill is a great neighborhood restaurant. I’m just trying to figure out whether that’s a compliment.
A neighborhood restaurant is a fitting description for a charming spot, small in size, with friendly staff and simple, well-executed, delicious food. Chow Down is all of those things. The main dishes are a mix-and-match of protein plus vegetables plus sauce. The chicken was perfectly char-grilled and a hearty portion. The sauce both flavorful and complex, the vegetables exotic and fresh. You can tell that it is helmed by a seasoned culinarian (Joshua Marcus, a BLT Steak ex-pat).
On the other hand, “neighborhood restaurant” is a description that is meant to diminish. It is to say that this place is worth frequenting but only if by luck and good fortune you live closeby. God forbid you had to fill up your gas tank (at this point you could probably just fill it with sea water from the Gulf, unfortunately). Only time will tell whether I will be motivated to get in my car and drive from “the Mainland” to Surfside, where Chow Down is located. Or if it ends up as another “neighborhood spot” in a neighborhood other than my own (see, e.g., Joey’s).
If I lived in Surfside, I’d be there once a week, maybe more. If I lived on the Beach, I’d be there with some regularity, I’m certain. But I live on “the Mainland.” Hopefully all of the attributes that make it a wonderful, cozy, well-thought-out “neighborhood restaurant” keep it from becoming just another “neighborhood restaurant.”
(Last Week’s Rankings in Parentheses)
1. NAOE (1)
2. Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink (2)
3. Red Light (3)
4. Sakaya Kitchen (4)
5. Buena Vista Bistro (5)
6. BLT Steak (6)
7. Hiro’s Yakko-San (7)
8. Eos (8)
9. Zuma (9)
10. GastroPod (10)
11. Bin No. 18 (11)
12. Michy’s (12)
13. Sra. Martinez (13)
14. Fratelli Lyon (14)
15. Bourbon Steak (15)
16. Pizzavolante (16)
17. Barbu (17)
18. Mandolin Aegean Bistro (18)
↑ 19. Chow Down Grill (*New Entry*)
↑ 20. The Morgan’s (NR)
On the Bubble: Joe’s Stone Crab.