Photo:Smoked suckling pig served at Cask & Larder in Winter Park.
Florida Life - Dining
Up north from central Florida to the Georgia-Alabama borders, Southern cooking is hotter than ever.
» Jackson’s Steakhouse
» Five Sisters Blues Café
Jackson’s Steakhouse is named for Old Hickory himself and owned by Good Grits Restaurant Group. The Southern accent is “just natural for us. It’s around us — great Gulf seafood and more and more farms,” says chef Irv Miller.
Also downtown, Five Sisters is dedicated to fried chicken, smothered pork chops and whopping Sunday brunches of a Kentucky family of five women, plus the music they loved.
Out at the new Marcus Pointe Golf Resort, the sleek restaurant Iron is named as much for skillets as for golf clubs. Chef Alex McPhail, an alum of Jackson’s and Restaurant August in New Orleans, has uptown country flavors like smoked pork belly with trotter jus and grits enriched with mascarpone, along with okra, bacon, and mustard greens everywhere.
» Cask & Larder
The gastropubbers of the Ravenous Pig dug deep into Southern roots and pushed them higher at Cask & Larder, a “Southern public house.” Make dinner of $14 chicken ‘n’ biscuits or pop $400 for a family supper feast of suckling pig and trimmings for eight, tastings of three kinds of country ham (take that, prosciutto) and dolled up quail with foie gras and collards. That’s eating high off the hog.
» Black Sheep
In Jacksonville, Jonathan Insetta closed downtown bistro Chew and turned his energies to a plain-food palace in Five Points that’s loco for local ingredients and uptown country. Black Sheep has been wowing city slickers since it opened in October. Ceviche may be Latin, but here it’s made with Mayport shrimp, and the Italian panzanella is made with cornbread. Anything you order will taste better with succotash or cheddar grits.