The how and the why of how I chose Homestead is not important (read: I don’t even remember). My in-laws showed up at our house a little early this evening and even though our reservation wasn’t until 6:30, I called the restaurant to ask if we could bump it up.
“Hi, I have a reservation tonight and I’m wondering if I could come in a little earlier instead?”
“Oh yes, Ms. Wardfive? You can definitely come earlier!”
So. I was the only person with a reservation here the whole night. The. Whole. Night. I don’t know why; even if you didn’t know anything about the place and were just walking by, you would notice how gorgeous it is. Maybe one of the top 10 most well-decorated restaurants I’ve been in. Maybe one of the most well-decorated places I’ve been in. And I’ve visited a number of European castles so I should know.
I want to drink hot cocoa by the fire in here and it’s like 10,000 degrees outside. But do you see how empty it is? Why? What are they hiding?
Homestead has a lot of good beers on tap but their cocktail list really shines and isn’t overly pricey either. I got the What-a-melon, others ordered the Few More Summer Days and the Summer Vacation. We left our appetizer decision in my mother-in-law’s capable appetizer-picking hands. She wanted deviled eggs.
A server showed up with a surprise amuse-bouche of catfish nuggets with remoulade served in individual little spoons. This is not the kind of fancy place that typically sends out a freebie compliments of the chef. They must have known a super famous restaurant critic was in the house. I was, on the whole, impressed by the drinks. The What-a-melon (left) was kind of watery, but what did I expect from watermelon? The light flavor grew on me throughout its consumption. The other two cocktails were very sweet but light and refreshing. The deviled eggs were normal and I don’t have a lot more to say about them. They were served on a bed of micro-greens that was so weirdly excessive that I thought we were consuming healthfood freak’s Easter basket.
I had the beet and burrata salad with additional chicken. The beets: roasted to sweet perfection, served cold. The mozzarella: so creamy and luxurious. The chicken was cooked really well too. Overall, though, it was a small dish despite the additional protein, but very tasty.
My husband also had a salad with chicken, but his was the panzanella. I hesitate to call something salad that is 90% bread, but this wasn’t a traditional panzanella. It was mostly a giant bowl of arugula with an intense citrus dressing and some croutons. I’m glad it wasn’t all bread but also sad that it was so mislabeled. It also advertised chickpeas and I think I counted, like, four of them.
My mother-in-law shocked nobody when she ordered the fried chicken. The menu claims it’s hot. It’s not. But the chicken was sooooooo moist on the inside with a crispy exterior that reminded me of what fried chicken could be. The collards were standard and the mashed potatoes, always her favorite, didn’t seem particularly special to me.
My father-in-law got the recommended catfish:
OH SWEET JESUS WHAT IS THIS? I didn’t know it was possible to make fish this unhealthy. I regret every time I condescended about dipping lobster in plain melted butter because the sauce on this plate had to have more calories than the dense shakes that third-world doctors feed to starving children. This is what winning at dinner looks like, people. The fish was as tender as you would expect when something is basically boiled in heavy cream. It was creamy, salty, spiced, and savory. The grits melted in your mouth. This was just yum.
We passed up dessert, which was for the best. We brought home some leftover chicken and half a bowl of arugula that I’m sure I will have to eat.
Price: $40 per person.
Bottom line: Homestead had highs and lows (butter fish and plain arugula, respectively). I left satisfied but not raving. I’m not sure I’d initiate another visit myself but I wouldn’t be mad if my work had a free Christmas party here.