The bottom line: I need to go back for a burger!
Rainy days (and we have had many of those lately here in Charlotte) often lead me to veg out in front of the TV and tune in to Food Network. There’s something about watching people cook that makes me feel better about staying indoors and not wishing it was a sunny day so I could be outside instead. Granted were this food being prepared in my own kitchen it would be all the better. I went into this whole little spiel because I was recently watching Diner, Drive Ins, and Dives and saw that Charlotte’s own South 21 was featured. How exciting!
Watching the drive in featured in triple D made me want to go out in search of some food there since I had never been before. Lucky for me there is one about 2 miles from my job, yay! The South 21 I went to was the one located in Matthews. The difference between this one and the actual drive in is that they have tables for you to sit at, no cars necessary. Overall the restaurant is low key. You enter, order your meal at the counter, and then go sit down until they call for your order. No one ever said that good food had to come in a fancy format.
Since I went during lunch time it was fairly packed with retiree’s, families, police officers, and students still out on vacation. I’d say it’s rather small but thankfully they also have an outside patio in case you can’t get a seat inside. But onto the food shall we?
South 21 is famously known for their burgers. I know I will get gripe for this (hopefully not!) but during my visit I did not order a burger. Instead I went for their ½ Dozen Jumbo Shrimp platter. The plate comes with fried shrimp, French fries, coleslaw, a roll, and tartar sauce. The price of the dish comes up to be around $8 and it’s not a bad deal for the amount of food you get.
I’d like to start by saying how beautifully the shrimp was fried. Every single inch was covered with batter that was crispy to the last bite. I imagine that for the batter that they used cornmeal because it had a sturdier consistency than were it covered in flour or anything else like that. Also, the shrimp was butterflied (can I apply that term to shrimp as well?). Basically the shrimp was cut in half until you came to the tail end. This made not only for an all-around easier way to eat the shrimp, but I think it enhanced the texture of the shrimp because you felt more of that crunchiness once the food hit your mouth. I ate my shrimp with the tartar sauce. The sauce was good and creamy although in all honesty tartar sauce isn’t specifically my favorite. I would have loved if the dish came with other sauces as well…maybe some cocktail sauce or a sweet and spicy sauce. I am going out on a limb here as I’ve been on a sauce kick lately J The French fries were also tasty. They were served hot and had that crispy outside/soft interior that I like. What can I say? This was a simple dish but there is really no bells and whistles needed here. It fulfilled my hunger and I left happy.
If the shrimp plate is any indication of the type of food that South 21 serves then you can bet that I’d love to go back again but this time for a burger. Some of my coworkers did order a burger (the ones you see pictured above) and they all had nothing but great things to say about their meal. I was food envious I’ll admit. However, seeing that South 21 is only minutes from my job it only gives me a reason to make sure that I visit again soon.