We got a very rare date night a few weeks ago and ended up at Sapphire located in the Factory at Franklin. Sapphire boasts locally grown products in an “intimate restaurant with an urban feel”. We ended up being seated very close to a few other tables, so it did not quite feel as intimate, but the food was fantastic and the decor was definitely upscale Southern.
Dinner began with a New South Caesar salad. The salad had country ham and Parmesan cheese over chopped romaine lettuce. It was drizzled with buttermilk Caesar dressing and blackstrap molasses. Now, if you don’t like blackstrap molasses and ham, this is probably not for you, but I thought this salad was genius. The components melded together well and really screamed Southern cuisine.
I selected the Southern Belle Plate, which basically meant I could pick any four sides and sample them. I chose the green bean shallot saute, turnip greens, white cheddar mac and cheese, and stone ground grits with a creole meuniere. The turnip greens were a little spicier than I expected, but they were done quite well. The green beans were pleasantly crunchy and the cheddar mac and cheese was fantastic. My favorite was the grits. It never occurred to me to add a meniere sauce to my grits, but it was fantastic.
Cary had the chicken fried chicken. A pan fried chicken breast was presented beautifully over white cheddar mac and cheese and was topped with a country ham gravy. The gravy had a nice peppery flavor which went well with the mac and cheese, which was very smooth with a nice little kick of spice. The chicken was pounded thin with a fine crispy crust. This was a nice take on a dish that is such a staple of the Southern kitchen.
We finished our meal with a piece of bourbon chocolate pie, topped with whipped cream and a strawberry. It was a perfect Southern ending to a perfect Southern dinner.