Friday, August 26, 2011

Utopia has grown!

Utopia had very humble beginnings.  Very. It was first located in the tiniest building in Columbia (I bet).  But Kathy Siokos had a dream and a vision and she packed it into that tiny little building.  Here we are several years later and she's relocated down the road into a larger, more comfortable and more useable space for her dream and vision.  We first met Kathy years ago when she worked for the Rockaway's folks. Before I had my baby, we went to either Rockaway's or Pizza Man so often that one day in the bank drive-thru I heard a familiar voice say to me, "so what do you want for dinner?"  There was Kathy in the car next to me.  I went home that day and told Neil "we are eating out way too often!"

Kathy and me

Tonight we finally had the opportunity to check out the new location. 
It's the site where Doc's Gumbo Grille was last located, which is also the "Jim Casey Compound" on Rosewood Drive.  First off, I LOVE what Kathy has done to the interior. It's fresh and bright but still reflects her Bohemian style. Hers is the only place in/around Rosewood that features live music at night and she's Greek...that means she's a damn good cook!  Music and good food=happy people.

So, let's just get right to it.  I ordered the club sandwich and raw fries.  The club was great...ham, turkey, bacon.  And it was kind of the "old school" club that we all grew up on.  Triple decker but not over stuffed like so many places do now...this actually fits in your mouth without having the toast scrape the roof of your mouth (this is a good thing).  The raw fries were exactly as raw fries are supposed to be.  A raw fry is supposed to be floppy but with a little crunch.  When "raw fries" come to a table with more of a tan than Snookie and crispier than a pork rind, it ain't a raw fry, people.  Utopia has all that under control.
Yum Yum Eat 'em Up

But the real star of the show was Neil's dish.  He ordered from the specials menu and chose the Jerk Chicken Thighs.  They arrived very obviously and nicely blackened.  Now, if you have been reading me for awhile, you know that Neil is the spice captain of the world.  He expected the chicken to have some flavor, but no real heat.  Well, halleluiah, he was pleasantly surprised!  They were hot and smoky and tender and just sent him into gastronomic nirvana.  It was served with a homemade macaroni and cheese that was as good as any church covered dish supper you've ever been too (ok it was way better, but same old fashioned style!) and a tomato-cucumber salad.  Neil is pretty experienced in Jamaican and Caribbean fare and his comment was that the plate was very well thought out...tomato salad is very characteristic as a side and provides a cooling effect and the mac and cheese added the creamy and gooey counterpart to the spicy chicken.  When it was all said and done, he proclaimed "I could eat this everyday."  I think that says it all. 
Neil's New Nirvana

Utopia is a locally owned bar/restaurant that you need to check out.  Good food, music, a loyal regular crowd which makes for a great neighborhood hangout!  3830 Rosewood Drive...tell Kathy that Neil and Elizabeth sent you.

Utopia Food & Spirits on Urbanspoon

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