Once home to Skylark Lounge and its resident Motown crooner Bobby Taylor, another classic American staple has taken over the first floor of Parekh House. The newest edition to the banker strip sits safely out of reach of the drunken masses, keeping intact the down-south atmosphere the Restoration team has worked very hard to bring to Hong Kong.
Thankfully, Dining Concepts alumni Jack and Kathlyn Carson chose to go back to his native New Orleans roots for their first restaurant venture on their own, because this town was in desperate need of more soul food. Obviously we weren’t the only ones who thought this, since on the midweek night we visited Restoration the joint was jumping.
Eager to try, well, everything, we went family-style at our table and ordered the best cocktail shrimp starter any of us had ever had (and it was generously portioned to boot), gumbo, blackened catfish, Southern fried chicken, a slightly plain jambalaya and number of sides. This gumbo is more soup than stew as the broth is on the lighter side, with less chunky ingredients floating around. Our preference is for a heartier stew, but we did enjoy the slightly spicy bite in their version. The standout dishes were the blackened catfish served on a plate with warm and flavorful popcorn rice and the huge helping of Southern fried chicken—the latter with juicy, tender meat hidden beneath deep-fried, dark-brown crispy skin.
Also on the menu are some beautifully marbled American steaks—a bit odd for a Creole restaurant, but when the chef honed his skills at Bistecca and at BLT Steak in New York, you let that little inconsistency slide.
If you still have room, definitely treat yourself to some beignets (fried dough topped with powder sugar, Louisiana-style).
With the dry-aged steaks on offer, a cuisine found in only one other restaurant in town, the accessible location and the knowledgeable and friendly staff will hopefully help this new kid on the block stick around longer than some of its neighbors. Fingers crossed.