This is a story of redemption.

My dinner at SO Restaurant-Bar in August 2017 didn’t exactly blow me away. The meal was all too safe, too boring, and left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Pun intended. What’s never been is question is SO’s quaint, cozy setting and its ideal, right-off-Kavanaugh location between the Hillcrest and Heights neighborhoods.

Still, exorbitant prices for average food is not a good combination, so I never returned to SO.

Until last week.

With some positive word-of-mouth from several folks on the blog and chef/owner Nicholas Copeland’s new small plate-centic menu, I figured it was time to re-visit SO.

Our table of four–the same folks I dined with in 2017–decided to share several dishes from the aforementioned Small Plates section of the menu. Yes, the entrees are still some of the most expensive in town, but the small plates allow diners to try more things, all at a fairly reasonable cost, ranging from $14-22 per plate. It’s still not cheap, but this is fine dining, and I’m willing to pay up for a memorable, well-executed experience.

Plates of Roasted Root Vegetables, Bacon Butter Salad (starter section), French Onion Soup (starter section), House Made Mozzarella, Beef Brochettes, Stout Braised Chicken Thigh, and Crab Cakes all hit the table in a timely, yet appropriately spaced-out manner, making for a relaxed, non-rushed dinner. Service was impeccable and attentive, and the sommelier, who picked out a wonderful red wine to pair with our plates.

The French Onion Soup, with it’s rich broth and buttered Ciabatta crouton, is a must-order. If you’re rushed for time, I recommend sitting at the bar with a glass of wine and a bowl of this soup.  The mozzarella, accented by a clam cacciatore, was also a big hit. The delicate sauce gave the dish a wonderful smokiness and touch of acidity. The Beef Brochettes will remind you of a jalapeno popper, amplified by the addition of perfectly cooked medium rare beef tenderloin medallions. The crab cake was the only dish that wasn’t well-received by the table. It was a touch salty and would have benefited from more crab and less filler. Some tinkering with the ratio would be wise.

The bottom line is this … SO had a great night. I know the restaurant has its fair share of loyal diners, but if you’ve had a previously subpar experience, like me, and are a little down on the restaurant, maybe you’ll consider giving SO another shot.

Glad I did.

SO Restaurant-Bar
3610 Kavanaugh Blvd
Hours: Sunday-Wednesday 4 p.m.-10 p.m.; Thursday-Saturday 4 p.m.-11 p.m.
Phone: (501) 663-1464 (reservations available online)