Lazy Susan

May 1, 2014

Text and Photo by Monica Maniaci

Lazy Susan BITESWhat? Another small, independently-owned restaurant opening in Bay View? That’s right. Lazy Susan, 2378 S. Howell Ave., opened its doors April 8.

It was created by owner and chef A.J. Dixon, most recently the head chef at Riverwest’s Centro Café.

At first glance, it doesn’t look like much, and maybe they’ll decorate it more along the way, but sitting down at the wooden tables, one gets the feeling of visiting your eclectic grandmother — the one who collects teacups and salt and pepper shakers, the one who wears patterned aprons, and cooks excellent food that makes you feel good inside.

The drink menu at Lazy Susan is small, but offers a fine assortment of specialty cocktails, beers, wines, and spirits. The dinner menu is also on the small side and all dishes are intended for sharing. The smallness of the menu isn’t limiting, however. In fact, it’s quite diverse, intimate, and interesting. It’s comfort food with a healthy twist.

First, my dining companion and I ordered the Coconut Sweet Potato Soup, which was outstanding in its simplicity and smooth and creamy richness. With hints of cumin and cilantro, it was delicate, but flavorful without being overwhelming. We ordered the Fennel and Grapefruit Salad next. It was bright and fresh, nicely balanced with a sprinkling of walnuts and a vinaigrette of honey, mint, and citrus.

Next we ordered the Corned Buffalo Hash, which was outstanding. The buffalo was moist and tender, cooked to perfection, and it was mixed with toasted Brussels sprouts and potatoes. Horseradish applesauce complimented the hash and a sunny-side-up egg on top brought the flavors together absolutely beautifully.

It was difficult to choose our final plate. Should we get the Swiss Chard Pancakes, the Chicken Fried Drummies, or the Cambodian Stuffed Wings? After much debate, we decided on the Cambodian Stuffed Wings and we were not disappointed. The chicken wings were succulently stuffed with pork, ginger, carrots, and glass noodles, expertly browned but still juicy. A spicy soy-like sauce was served with it, adding to the layers of flavor.

We finished our meal with the Ancho Pot de Crème, a thick, dark chocolate custard made with coconut milk and infused with just enough ancho pepper to give it a little kick, and to break up the heaviness of the chocolate.

Almost all the plates at Lazy Susan are or can be prepared either gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian, and they are listed clearly and appropriately on the menu. It was nice to be in such an accommodating atmosphere where the staff and owner clearly understand the wants and needs of its clientele.

All in all, it was an excellent meal. The service was great, too.

You can tell that Chef A.J. knows food, that she understands ingredients and cares enough to make things taste great. It was real, healthy, homemade food. It wasn’t pretentious, just simple and easy, a thoroughly thoughtful, loving food experience.


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