[Updated] Southern-style feasting at Alabama Social
Head warning: Prepare yourselves for another post full of drool-worthy pictures!
As I’ve written before, I was lucky enough to live in the wonderful city of New Orleans, and even though it was only for about half a year during an exchange semester, I think it’s safe to say that this time has changed my life. I’m not being overly emotional or glorifying here – New Orleans is where I met a pretty great young man who happened to be Danish and became the reason I moved to Denmark. But apart from that, the city also absolutely has life-changing qualities, and I miss it pretty much every day. If you’ve never been to NOLA and want to get a feel for it, or if you have been and want to reminisce about it, I highly recommend these two articles from Local Milk (great blog!) and NolaVie.
Within the Copenhagen gastro scene, Madklubben is one of the main “chains” behind many popular restaurants in town, and their latest coup are the three restaurants located side by side on Sortedam Dossering, along the lakes. There’s Gran Torino (Italian and pizza), Hanzo (Asian fusion), and Alabama Social, which promises Southern soul food. So obviously, we had to go and try it!
We went on the Wednesday that Distortion festival took over Nørrebro – I personally didn’t feel like diving full-on into the street festival anyway – and our seats of the window ensured we got plenty of opportunity to people-watch during our dinner!
The interior is right up my alley. The atmosphere is really cozy, but there are clean lines and a clear color concept. White tiles and dark wood, amazing antique tableware (you’ll see those vintage plates in the food pictures below), a long window front, and an open kitchen.
Upon being shown to our table, we dived into the menu, which is filled to the brim with Southern classics, such as oysters, crawfish, jerk chicken, and hot wings.
The philosophy behind Alabama Social is to create the perfect balance between greasy finger food and elegance. There’s a general focus on simplicity and authenticity, with traditional ingredients and spices, such as habanero chili, cayenne pepper, and coriander.
Of course, we started out with a cocktail. I went for a classic Pisco Sour, which was amazing, and the boyfriend went for a Tennessee Rumshine, made with rum, blackberry moonshine, and orange. Yum! They also make some other classics like a Sazerac (which was invented in New Orleans), or a Fitzgerald, and have some sweet, creamy after dinner cocktails which I can’t wait to try next time.
For starters, we each couldn’t really decide, so we just went with two and shared them both. The first one was this beauty: a poached half lobster, served cold, with delicious creole mayo and grilled lemon. They normally use Canadian lobster, but we got lucky and they had Danish lobster on that day. Very yummy!
The other half of our starter plate were the Louisiana Hot Wings – I find it very difficult to find good wings here, but these were really good. Served with the classic blue cheese dip, they packed just the right amount of heat, and were nice and crispy on the outside. The marinade wasn’t too hot, which was great, as I love me some spice, but can’t really handle too much of it.
Then it was time for the mains. The Viking didn’t need a long time to decide – as soon as he saw the 350g rib-eye steak on the menu, he was sold! And he kinda stayed with the blackberry theme from his drink – the steak came beautifully cooked, topped with a reduction sauce and caramelized onions, and decorated with fresh blackberries and thyme. He actually let me try a bite – it was very, very good!
I went with the jerk chicken, and I hate so say it, but this was the only dish that was slightly disappointing. Don’t get me wrong, the chicken was delicious and juicy, but a jerk marinade needs some serious kick, and that was just lacking a bit here. Especially after our very nice waitress asked me twice if I was sure I wanted to order it, because it was “really very spicy” – I had expected a bit more. Maybe my mouth was still a bit numb from the hot wings before? The beans and rice on the side were beautiful, though, and I liked the watermelon with it. I’d love to try the jerk chicken again and have them add a bit more zing to it.
[UPDATE:] I’ve since been back and tried the jerk chicken again – and this time, my mouth was on fire! The beans and rice were also spiced up with some chili, so I was really thankful for the slice of watermelon.
As there were no sides to the steak, we also ordered some fries with the same creole mayo (which is absolutely fabulous), and these fries were just perfection. Unless you prefer thin fries, you won’t find them better than this. Thick, crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside, just as they are supposed to. I get hungry right now just looking at them!
Needless to say, our plates were scraped clean before long! See what I mean about the beautiful plates? I love the gold decor details!
In line with my general policy of never leaving a restaurant without eating dessert, I knew I had to try their cheesecake. I am an absolute sucker for cheesecake, and this one was advertised as “cheesecake with white chocolate and brown cocoa butter”, so, uhm, yes please! The Viking just wanted something light, so he went for the sorbet. It was supposed to be blackberry, but we were then told they only had lime-ginger sorbet left. Too bad, it would’ve fit so well with his blackberry theme! But the lime-ginger one was very refreshing and not too heavy on the ginger, so he was happy as well.
This dinner, including cocktails, a glass of wine each, and some sparkling water, cost us about DKK 1,400 – but that includes the lobster, which costs anywhere between DKK 190-225 (price of the day), other starters are of course cheaper. All in all, I think that’s a very fair price.
Service throughout the entire night was lovely, even though they were busy both with diners inside and the Distortion crowds at the tables outside, who continued to barge in asking to use the restrooms.
In summary, I would definitely recommend Alabama Social. I think the food is great, so are the staff and atmosphere. Their cocktails are outstanding, too. They’ve recently started a lunch offering, too, and I’m really hoping to try out the Po’ Boy sandwich there as well.
Have you been to Alabama Social? What did you think, and what were your favorites? Let me know in the comments below!