Photo | Lagniappe
Mobile is ripe, these days, with really good restaurants. All you need is a decent guide to show you the way. Like New Orleans, we are keen on knowing “the best place” to send a friend or stranger when a good meal is required. Your reputation is on the line. I try to be that guy, the one who asks which part of town you’re visiting and what kind of food you’re craving, so I can best calculate the best restaurant that suits your needs. If you are ever anywhere near downtown, the short list I keep always includes The Noble South.
Downtown is so full of good food right now it’d be a shame not to mention some of our favorite restaurants in this column. NoJa still kills it. The Royal Scam is a favorite of mine. Red or White takes a lot of my paycheck. You can see for miles and miles from Dauphin’s. Southern National is no longer the new game in town, but embraced as true Mobile fare. The Haberdasher takes its food menu as seriously as it does the cocktail menu. I cannot wait to try Squid Ink.
I’m sure I’ll leave someone out, but there are more. Dumbwaiter, Kazoola, LoDa Bier Garten, Von’s, Mama’s, Café 219, OK Bicycle Shop, Moe’s Original Bar B Que, Heroes Sports Bar, Chuck’s Fish, Five Bar, Cotton State BBQ, FOY, The Cheese Cottage, Bob’s Downtown and the iconic Wintzell’s are only a partial list. But at or near the top of that list we always see The Noble South.
What makes it stand out? A few years ago they hit that corner of Dauphin and Conception with a menu Mobile was not accustomed to, but ready for. Good wine, cocktails, staff and ambience eased us into dinners that seemed familiar, yet every item carried a twist. Dinner became exciting again, and it still is.
Lunch. A lot of finer dining restaurants shy away from lunch. The Noble South made an affordable option for the bustling downtown scene of office workers and government employees that also drew crowds from the west. There are too many “I’ll never not get the …” declarations to stick to my word, but pickled shrimp, deviled eggs with caviar, those fresh salads, BLTs, pimiento cheese … I could go on. You can’t get it all every time.
Then Sunday brunch came along. The best brunch I ever had was on my son’s 13th birthday last year. He ate like a king that day, and I credit The Noble South for the milestone. It was the first time he “got it.” By that, I mean he realized that some meals are more than just a good appetizer, entrée and dessert. The way you’re treated, the presentation, the contrasting flavors of one dish next to another — when it all comes together, it isn’t just food.
He keeps asking when we will sneak away from the rest of the family and do it again. I think he needs it. So do I. We could try another spot, but The Noble South is hard to beat.
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