In late May, Michelin-starred chef Joseph Humphrey unveiled his new Southern inspired restaurant Dixie, nestled in the former Press A Vi. The large space, which seats nearly 300, was re-designed by Michael Brennan (Zero Zero, Jardiniere, Chandon) to reflect a grandiose Southern plantation feel, fitting appropraitely into the manicured lawns of the Presidio. Inside, diners find dressed up takes on Southern classics like waygu beef with yellow grits, or halibut with sassafras and sea urchin remoulade. There's even a five-course tasting menu that invites guests to have a dish in the kitchen. Will San Franciscans fall in love with Humphrey's ode to the South? Let's check the early pulse on Dixie, as the restaurant closes out its sixth week in business today.
The Interior News: Paolo Lucchesi at SF Gate notes, “kitchens of this scale are a rare bird in San Francisco, especially sans an extensive build-out,” and reviews that “Michael Brennan’s aesthetic redesign stripped a lot of the corporate feel.” Meesha Halm at Zagat comments that their is an “impressive vaulted wood ceiling, now outfitted with plantation-style ceiling fans and antique musical instruments.” Thrillist describes it as a “an almost-too-large-to-actually-exist-in-SF space," and "an epic Gone With The Wind throwback.”
The Food News:Daily Candy writes that the chicken and dumplings are “light and fluffy with ricotta gnudi." Gayot describes the same dumplings as “sophisticated.” But Katie writes on Foursquare that she left hungry: “Get pizza afterwards. The portions are tiny.”
The Location News: “Is this restaurant located in the middle of nowhere or is it just me?” asks Sean W. on Yelp reviewing that “this place doesn't get much foot traffic.” Halm at Zagat finds it to be a “charming setting (former army barracks) and an outdoor terrace affording views of the Palace of Fine Arts and San Francisco Bay beyond it.” Chowhounder mlutsky calls the location "killer."
The Drink News:“Plenty of Dixie (duh!) beer,” writes Halm at Zagat, as well as “American whiskeys served neat and updated Southern libations such as strawberry mint julep, Old Fashions and something called 2 Bens - a pint of Guinness served with a shot of Jack Daniels, which is an homage to Humphrey’s dad and grandfather’s favorite drinks.” Roger P. on Yelp reviews, “Mixed drinks were pretty good and creative and the bar area looked great.”
The Service News:“Granted the restaurant is new, but nothing seems to be in sync here. There is no sense of warmth or welcomeness. The service vibe is robotic, but uncertain.” reviews Matthew L. on Yelp. But Yelper Ping P. writes, “Watching the service in the restaurant was like watching a performance of swan lake - servers swooping in and out with plates of food, graceful pours of soup and unobtrusive check in and care.”
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· All Dixie Coverage on Eater [~ ESF ~]