First Look: Bubba
I’ll say this about Bubba–Southern Comforts: There’s nothing like it in town. Sure, it has the high-ceilinged, giant-windowed, exposed-ductwork look of many restaurants housed in historic downtown buildings, but Christopher Diebel‘s new soon-to-be hotspot exudes grandeur, poise and polish.
Elements of Diebel’s native South (he’s a son of Texas) charm up the walls in dashing vignettes: a display of framed bow-ties here, a collection of straw rancher-style hats there, a montage of venerable silver platters in the entryway. Presiding over the goings-on in the bar is a portrait of a bonafide southern belle, Diebel’s great-grandmother. Comfortable banquettes — upholstered in a handsome tan plaid worthy of a dapper Southern lawyer’s suit — line many of the walls. Everything about the spot is gracious and gentlemanly, in a fresh and modern way.
I attended two preview events — a lunch and a dinner. Highlights from the kitchen of chef Jammie Monaghan included biscuits and cornbread served with lavender butter and rhubarb jam; meaty crab cakes with a sprightly cucumber-onion relish; sweet-and-spicy Gulf shrimp atop creamy grits; and a glistening Cajun-spiced catfish.
Big-food bravura dominates much of the menu, as evidenced by the massive portions of chicken-fried steak, fried chicken and waffles, and a Kentucky hot brown — an open-face turkey-bacon sandwich smothered in Swiss cheese sauce and broiled. In general, the kitchen seems to be trading on the kind of heft that has made neighbors Django and Malo such popular standbys — which is to say, this newcomer fits right into the neighborhood.
This article originally appeared in the dsm Magazine weekly e-newsletter.