Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails has gone through a reinvention with their new chef Sean Currid. It continues to have a very relaxed yet attentive atmosphere but with new menus. If you are looking for something lighter there are some amazing salads including a Quinoa salad with shrimp which was so tempting. IF you want something heavier and heartier there is the new burger, simple called “The Burger” but there is nothing simple about it. Either way we think you’ll be happy you took the trip downtown.
For our lunch journey we started with the fried green tomatoes with lump crab meat. Perfectly fried without feeling heavy and bready these tomatoes were fresh and with a slight sour taste to it you would expect. It sat on a bed of remoulade and lump crab meat was scattered on top. Fresh, sour, sweet, crunchy, smooth, this dish provided a lot for a starter.
Our main entrees consisted of The Burger and the Mt. Lassen Trout. Both beautifully presented and both on different sides of the health scale, which is exactly what we wanted. Sharing both plates gave us the best of both worlds. The burger is covered in a pimento cheese, bacon, pickle, on a pretzel bun. The best part of this burger was by far the pimento cheese. Not a fan of pimento cheese I had my doubts, but one bite and I was hooked. I am counting the days to be downtown again and devour this burger again. The second entrée was the trout which was perfectly cooked with brown butter on a bed of green beans in a golden raisin and caper sauce that was sweet but complimented both the fish and the beans perfectly. If only my mom had cooked green beans with the same spices I would have been a big fan of them. I cannot explain in enough detail how perfectly crisp, sweet, and savory they were. You will have to experience it for yourself.
Luckily for us, we had a little room left over for dessert. The pineapple upside-down cake was pure bliss. The cake was moist with a wonderful crunchy outer layer. It was covered with just a few pineapple chunks and a scoop of date ice cream. All of this alone would be enough to make us happy campers. However, I saved the best for last. It comes presented in a cast iron skillet with bubbling hot salted caramel. It is smooth, salty, and provides the perfect balance to the sweet cake. So our advice is, don’t forget to save room because you will regret it if you fill up before you get to this sweet ending.
Walking into the Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails you get a swanky city vibe. The lively bar has a good mix of business people, hotel guests and nightly downtown visitors who are there for a concert or sporting event. We were quickly seated in the dining area at a corner table next to the window. We had a nice view of the restaurant, bar and outside patio. Our waiter quickly greeted us and was personable and helpful throughout our whole meal.
I started with a pretty pink cocktail called the Lost Melody. A vodka based drink with grapefruit, coconut, pampelmousse rose and egg white serve in a coupe (my favorite!) This could be my new Spring drink, it was perfect with a smooth frothy texture and the subtle scent of roses gave me a whimsical sensation.
On to the Food! We started with the Hickman’s Deviled Eggs and the Tater Tots. The eggs instantly give you the familiar flavors of the traditional appetizer you knew as a kid. The whipped yolks, mayonnaise and hints of Dijon are all present but then you get the bonus…a fried egg yolk! Nestled in the white of the egg is a gently fried yolk with the whipped deviled mixture resting on top. This takes finger food to the ultimate next level. It is a fantastic mix of an American favorite with a modern day twist. Tater Tot time: looking like your normal tot you bite in and quickly find they are filled with smoked bacon! Served with a romesco (nut and red pepper-based) dipping sauce which made these addictively good and I knew I would be back to the Blue Hound for these crispy delights.
Next was the Cured Strawberry and Fennel Flatbread. The fresh sweet strawberries combined with earthy arugula and bitter fennel gave me visions of summer in the country. Atop a slightly salty flatbread “He” and I both said this would be a great ‘light fare” with cocktails.
The Crispy Salt N’ Pepper Shrimp were next to arrive at the table, unpeeled and heads still attached, we had a little work to do before enjoying these meaty guys. Chef Stephen suggested just diving in with our hands and that’s exactly what we did. Messy fingered and having WAY too much fun we agreed these were a homerun! The salt n’ pepper (and other spices) were so good I had to eat one of the shrimp with the shell on to get more of those flavors. It came with citrus aioli that was a perfect addition and didn’t steal any attention away from the shellfish.
For an entrée I ordered the BBQ’d Beef Short Ribs with Blue Cheese Grits. The presentation was incredible! Nestled in grits the giant bone-in short rib was so big part of it was hanging out of the small cast iron pot. I forked off pieces of this hearty meat from the bone and went speechless, OH GOSH this was good! The meat was cooked perfectly with tender and tougher textures weaved together in one bite. Hints of smokiness and seasoned flavors lurked but the natural flavors of the meat were most prevalent. The blue cheese grits was the co-star to this dish adding a creamy, milky balance to the gamey meat. This was a Phenomenal Dish.
Though we devoured a ton of food this particular night, each dish stood out and continues to linger in my memory. The Blue Hound has successfully put together a magnificent menu and I am already wondering when I can fit another visit into my schedule.