Readers and food writers are typically focused on new restaurants, but sometimes that means a more-established spot slips through the cracks. For me, one example is Lucille's, the Museum District restaurant where chef Chris Williams puts his own spin on classic Southern dishes.
After receiving a few recommendations from friends to give it another shot, CultureMap contributor Marcy de Luna and I accepted Williams' invitation to dine at his restaurant Thursday night.
We found that after two-and-half-years Lucille's is in solid form. Chili biscuits, a dish originally created by Williams' grandmother Lucille Bishop Smith, are a fun, one-bite starter that deliver a slight spiciness to go with the biscuits' pleasantly doughy texture.
Williams' warm personality is reflected in the service provided by his staff, which also enhances the value.
The restaurant's fried items are particularly solid. The fried "yardbird" ($23) comes out with a crispy crust, juicy interior and generous sides of mac and cheese and braised collar greens. Whole fried fish ($25) and appetizers of gigantic fried oysters ($10) and fried green tomatoes ($9) were all equally satisfying.
The celebrated burger is undeniably pricey at $18, but it's a thick, juicy patty that arrived properly medium rare with lots of drippage and an addictive side of steak fries. Credit the house ground patty, cheddar cheese and applewood smoked bacon for delivering a classic combination of beefy, salty and smoky flavors. It does seem worth noting that nearby Museum Park Cafe's equally excellent blue label burger is only $10 during happy hour (or $15 regularly at companion cafe Bosta Wine & Coffee).
Admittedly, these prices are a lot to ask for a burger or fried chicken, but Lucille's generous portions and a high level of execution help to justify the expense. In addition to the food, Williams' warm personality is reflected in the service provided by his staff, which also enhances the value.
For diners in and around the Museum District, Lucille's provides a solid option for well-executed comfort food. It's worth your time.