Battle of the Fancy Shrimp and Grits: Imperial No. Nine vs. Joseph Leonard
Lauren Shockey Shrimp + grits = YUM
The Southern staple of shrimp and grits has moseyed on up North and become fancified by many of Gotham's top chefs at decidedly non-Dixie restaurants. Now, as My Cousin Vinny taught us, no self-respecting Southerner would ever use instant grits. But would they cry blasphemy at these chic versions? You know what, who cares! Manhattan pride is where it's at, and we're pretty stoked about shrimp and grits in any form. Still, some versions are better than others. So for this week's battle of the dishes we present Battle of the Fancy Shrimp and Grits: Imperial No. Nine vs. Joseph Leonard.
Lauren Shockey Shrimp and grits get the blues at Imperial No. Nine.
We stopped in first at Imperial No. Nine, Sam Talbot's new sustainable seafood spot in the Mondrian Soho hotel. The space is undeniably gorgeous, and much of the food is pretty, too. But we were particularly wooed by the shrimp and grits. Why? BECAUSE THE GRITS ARE BLUE! How cool is that? OK, they do sort of look like purple mush, but never having encountered blue grits before, this was pretty neat. Pieces of cut shrimp sink into the bowl of creamy cornmeal studded with large yellow niblets. A sous vide egg plops in the middle of the bowl, and coffee oil is drizzled on top, making this the most breakfasty bowl of grits around. At $15, the bowl isn't huge, and is somewhat difficult to eat with a fork, but we have to say this was mighty fine.