The Carriage House, a restaurant where I dined recently, is one that specializes in Low Country Cuisine, a branch of Southern cooking centered around the Carolina and Georgia coastlines, that uses a lot of seafood and rice, and brings in influences from Caribbean and African Cuisines. It actually has some similarities to Cajun cuisine. When I last came, the entrance was on a side street and opened into the dining room near the kitchen. When I most recently, the entrance used was on the main road behind a wind shelter commonly seen around around Chicago bars and restaurants in the winter time. The door from the street does not open directly into the dining room like the rear door does, with a second door further sheltering the dining room from cold and wind. When I arrived, there weren't many people there, so I decided to sit at the bar in order to make things easier for service. The bar sits in front of the entrance and runs back into the dining room, so if the door had opened directly into the dining room, the people at the bar would most noticeably feel the cold. While I did come for dinner, I wasn't really in the mood for anything elaborate, so I started things off with a beer and a Kitchen Pickle Jar. While the term pickle is commonly used to mean pickled cucumbers, I have noticed that many restaurants use the term generically to refer to any pickled vegetables. This is what I expected in this case and I was not disappointed. While there were many sliced pickled cucumbers, the jar also included Pickled Onions and was topped with halved Pickled Okra. The pickled cucumbers were very good, as I expected them to be. They were fresh with a nice sour flavor and a crispy crunch. The okra was a bit of a surprise because I had never had it before other than in gumbos and jambalaya. I had heard that it could be slimy so I didn't really know what to expect. There was no sliminess with the pickled okra and it was pretty crisp, which to me, implied freshness, and under the expected spicy sourness coming from the pickling brine was a flavor similar to asparagus. It was good and I enjoyed it.
I again enjoyed my dinner at Carriage House. The food was very good, my bartender/waitress was very friendly and helpful, and the atmosphere was pretty low key. While the space had few people there when I arrived, things picked up by the time I left. The place is a lot of fun and I will return.