For those of us here hailing from the American south, the word “palmetto” is likely to conjure up images of large, fan-shaped palm trees swaying in the breeze. Memories of sipping sweet tea on the porch while Mom fried dinner in her bacon-greased cast-iron skillet. Feelings of warmth and contentment.
Fortunately for homesick southerners waxing nostalgic, and for people hankering for some good old-fashioned comfort food, the chef behind new restaurant Palmetto is a Georgia boy—on a mission to bring Southern charm and hospitality to Shanghai. The restaurant is nestled in a quiet corner of 800Show in Jing'an and offers outdoor seating under leafy trees, next to a bubbling fountain. It's not quite Savannah or Charleston, but we'll take what we can get in this concrete jungle.
Gavin McAleer, formerly of Jalapeño, along with veteran restaurateur Pauly Gray (now defunct Masse), have created a menu highlighting all of the deep South’s greatest hits, starting with “snacks.”
From standard Boiled Peanuts (RMB18) and Deviled Eggs (RMB24) to a creamy Crab Gratine (RMB68) and Corn Bread (RMB18) served with sweet sorghum butter, you could easily make a meal out of just this section.
A dish that will make the cut and should not be missed is the Fried Catfish with Hushpuppies and Tartar Sauce (RMB78). Made with catfish that arrives live at the restaurant daily, it’s lightly breaded, heavily seasoned and fried to crisp, golden brown perfection.
A less exciting option is the Meatloaf (RMB88). A staple in most homes below the Mason-Dixon line, Palmetto's version is less loaf, more meat and is served alongside some super buttery mashed potatoes.
Where this restaurant really shines, however, is in its sides. They rotate their availability and display them on a blackboard. Their Potato Salad (RMB18) is exemplary—light on the mayo with just the right amount of tanginess and topped with bits of crispy bacon.
We love their Fava Beans with Squash and Ham (RMB18) in a creamy dressing, and the Stewed Greens with Goober Peas (RMB18) are so good we're even willing to forgive them for substituting collared greens with kale.
Food here is heavy and hearty. Nevertheless, be sure to save room for dessert. The Strawberry Shortcake (RMB48), made with freshly baked biscuits, cream and berries is simple, sweet and slightly salty. In other words, perfect.
Our Rating: 4/5 Stars
Address: 1/F, Bldg. A3, 800 Changde Lu (near Changping Lu) 常德路800号A3栋1楼 (近昌平路)
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