Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Headed east and found South

Was in Leavenworth this weekend for my brother Shaun's wedding, and got a chance to eat one of the best meals I've ever had in this faux Bavarian Village (where I'm drawn by family ties and the tonic effect of the Wenatchee River).

South opened a couple of months ago and the locals freaked. The portions were too small! The price was too high! The food was too flavorful! The Mexican fare that's known and loved in Leavenworth comes out of a can, and is slopped onto huge platters.

So, the young couple who own South -- the daughter and son-in-law of longtime Spokane restaurateurs, William and Marcia Bond who have made many diners happy at Luna, and more recently, Maron -- retooled. The prices now are cheap by Seattle standards, entrees in the $15 range. Starters under $10. (Don't miss the ceviche.)

And the food is fresh and wildly flavorful. Salsas pop. The mole was intense. Even the rice was deeply satisfying, cooked in from scratch chicken stock. The margaritas totally rock, made with fresh-squeezed limes.

I loved the restaurant's patio space, too, lights strung overhead, live music occasionally featured on one end of the comfy space. Grapevines are growing along one wall, I think the east wall of South.

This kind of food might seem out of place in a town built on bratwurst and beer, but Leavenworth is evolving. There are wine tasting rooms mixed in among the souvenir shops, a fabulous day spa and a sushi bar are fine additions. The place has gone global. I can't wait to get back.


Joanna said...

From a local -
I'm just a little offended by the "and the food was too flavorful!" comment - As if we in Leavenworth are just some backwater people "eating mexican out of a can"! City people have such a strange perspective on those of us who don't live there.

As for South, I just ate there the other day and it keeps getting better and better. Cappy and Price have done an amazing job with the interior using a lot of recycled goods to decorate. Those Seattle-ites who like "La Carta" will feel right at home in at South. It is absolutely a breath of fresh air for those of us locals who have taste buds as our choices for good eats in this little town are few. Now if we could just get the tourists to have some taste buds then South and other restaurants like it would do well!

Joanna Dunn
Leavenworth, WA

Whining and Dining said...

Sorry to offend Joanna, I was just quoting some of my family who has lived there since before the Village was Bavarian.