Photo by Sarah Midkiff
"Somebody once told me, the world is gonna roll me, I ain't the sharpest tool in the shhh-ed.” Twenty-somethings, likely introduced to Smashmouth while watching “Shrek” in their superhero pajamas, lob those lyrics down the bar Saturday night at Home Sweet Home, Carytown’s new grilled-cheese mecca. Others join the impromptu singalong. The bartender sets up my pickle back— a shot of Jameson Irish Whiskey with a side of house-made pickle brine — with aplomb. According to state law, 45 percent of a restaurant’s revenue must come from food sales if serving spirits, making this casual eatery with a bar emphasis prime testing grounds for gourmandized millennials, though at 9 p.m. I don’t see a plate in sight.
One weekend, I stride through the restaurant’s patio to the leanly decorated dining room: painted brick walls, cross-stitch sampler, a sun catcher. The River City — pimento cheese, pickles and thin country ham on white bread — sounds appealingly bourgie. The cheddar has the yeasty smell of overage, though it’s hard to ruin buttery bread and molten cheese with a tomato soup dip. Better is the poutine, a heap of fries drowned in beefy gravy, topped with melted mozzarella rather than curds. Sweet and spicy chicken wings are crisply lacquered, and I'm glad I listened to my server’s suggestion to combine the two sauces available.
At brunch, Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back” plays over a house-smoked barbecue sandwich that’s too finely chopped, a textural disappointment. Nearby, a guy with bedhead mentions driving home to see the family dentist. Those days of less responsibility — no mortgage, no kids — take me back, even if the decadent bar food doesn’t.
2.5 out of 4 forks
3433 W. Cary St., 355-9000
Hours: Monday to Friday: 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Prices: $3 to $12