Pardon the interruption, but some meals are just so awesome that I have to blog about them. Cotillion Southern Cafe is located in Wildwood, Florida just outside of Florida’s Friendliest Hometown (The Villages). My parents took me there on my last visit. They said the restaurant was a place that I would want to blog about it.
At first the rebellious inner child that exists in all of us no matter what our age came roaring to life. Hell no! You can’t tell me what to do! You can’t tell me what to blog about! I’m thirty-five. Those days are over. Besides, this isn’t a restaurant review blog. Yelp and TripAdvisor exist for reviews. One bite calmed my childish demon. Not a restaurant review site be damned, I had to blog about this meal.
Cotillion Southern Cafe is a small family run restaurant located in old bank building in the heart of Wildwood. A documented history of the building and town is displayed throughout the restaurant. The vault still exists and is now used as a cooler for beer and wine. As much as commerce may have left Wildwood, it has not left Cotillion. We needed reservations on a Thursday night!
The menu is tiny but yet still robust in essential Southern fare like Chicken and Waffles, Shrimp and Grits, Fried Catfish, and Pulled Pork (bonus points if you can pull off the Train Wreck) to name a few. I ordered the Texas Fried Steak. It’s served over a choice of Smashed Potatoes or Georgia Ice Cream (cheese grits). If you follow this blog you know that grits are more than acceptable on the Southern dinner table so I ordered my Texas Fried Steak over Georgia Ice Cream instead of the traditional Smashed Potatoes.
Is wowsers a word? Because that’s how good the Texas Fried Steak was. The grits were the creamiest I had ever eaten contrasting both the sweet from the cream and a slight tang from the soft cheddar. The steak was tender and the batter cooked just right to a soft golden. Care was taken to remove all oily residue so each bite delivered a crunch. Homemade white gravy was then splashed over the steak. The texture of the gravy was so thick and so creamy that I couldn’t tell where the gravy ended and the grits began. I make a mean chicken fried steak, but the Cotillion’s beat the britches off of anything I could prepare.
I can’t say that I tried anybody else’s meal at my table of six, but everyone raved on theirs as much as I raved on mine. The truth is, I wasn’t inclined to try anything else. Trying meant sharing, and I didn’t want to share one bite of my Texas Fried Steak. If you have room for dessert (I didn’t), choose from one of Ms. Kathi’s monster sized cakes. For $6.50, your server will serve up a slice of cake the size of most cakes. That’s a deal even a Villager would love!
The Southern charm didn’t end with the food. Every last detail delivered Southern elegance from the eclectic china used as dinnerware (we each had our own pattern) to the antique hutch housing the cakes. Even our dishes were served in just the right touch. My side of collards were prestinely propped in a tea cup. The gravy for the chicken pot pie was served in an old metal gravy boat and finished with a sprig of rosemarie to add color.
The Cottillion Southern Cafe is an all around winner in my opinion and a place I know that I will be begging my parents to visit the next time I am in The Villages. It’s true Southern cooking at it’s finest! What meal in your travels has really surprised you?