The GF's folks were in town and we decided to spend the day walking through the boutiques in Old City. A bit famished, we decided to grab brunch at Little Lion.
It's a beautiful space, with plenty of seating whether you're looking to grab a table for a bite or get a seat at the bar for Happy Hour. The upstairs is especially vibrant and clearly a visual focal point.
Stewed tomatoes, buttered bread crumbs
Regular readers know that I always have to order the mac. And while the temperature was barely luke-warm, the flavors were all there. Reminiscent of a buttery grilled cheese with tomato soup, the stewed tomatoes added a nicely bright acidity to the creamy cheese-drenched cavatappi.
Fried Green Tomatoes [$8]
Pimento Cheese, bacon tomato jam, buttermilk ranch
The fried green tomatoes were a winner, The tomatoes had wonderful bite, with a crisp fry on the exterior. The pimento cheese had a kick that woke the palate and was tempered by the jam and the cooling buttermilk ranch.
Sour slaw, potato rolls, bread & butter pickles
The chicken had a bit of BBQ char and were enjoyable juicy, with the acidity of the sour slaw and the pickles providing some levity.
Buffalo Chicken & Biscuits [$12]
Sausage gravy, potatoes
Sadly, as I excited as I was for this dish, I was immeasurably disappointed on the execution. Perhaps it was sitting at the pass for awhile, though in the interest of full disclosure, service actually quick and great overall. Not only was the gravy cold, but the chicken wasn't that much warmer either and only had the faintest hint of buffalo sauce. I'm of the school of thought where unless I'm at a fine dining restaurant, I usually don't send things back. And even then, I've only done it once. Yet here, it took everything I had not to send it back to the kitchen - more so to provide feedback. That being said, the concept and the flavors were definitely discernible. The accompanying home fries were on point, with plenty of charred and crisp veggies studding the spuds.
Lion Burger [$14]
Sharp cheddar, bacon, pickled red onion, pimento cheese, butter lettuce, Heirloom tomato, house-made pickles
The GF's burger didn't fare much better. Granted, it was ordered medium well, but there was also a general lack of seasoning. Worse in my book? The fries were limp, greasy, and devoid of texture.
Smoked Turkey Sloppy Joe [$9]
Smoked free range turkey, sweet & spicy tomato, chilies, bread & butter pickles, grilled onions, brioche
The last thing I would order on a menu was the surprise of brunch. The ground and smoked turkey was incredibly moist and juicy, with great flavor from the sweet and spicy tomato. And who can say no to sweet potato fries, which surprisingly had more crisp that the aforementioned fries!
Overall, Little Lion's a great-looking spot with potential. I was excited at the prospects when looking over the menu - so much so that I know I'll be returning to see if it was just a misstep on the back of a kitchen that was on the latter half of a brunch service. Not that that's an excuse ...