Oxford: Snackbar

When Elvis Costello was in Oxford, Mississippi, recording his 2006 album, The Delivery Man, he pinned John Currence with the nickname Johnny Snack. (Currence, who recently won a James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef: South, catered Costello’s recording and rehearsal sessions from the kitchen at City Grocery, his flagship restaurant.) Last month, Currence made good on the name, when he opened Snackbar, a neighborhood-focused restaurant in an old strip mall. (It shares the strip with Big Bad Breakfast, Currence’s year-old paean to the Southern diner.) The Snackbar vibe is straightforward: shellacked wainscoting accessorized by taxidermied deer heads; louvered blinds to filter the parking lot light; raw bar in front, featuring Apalachicola’s best; drinking bar in back, where Sazeracs are poured with a sure hand. Vishwesh Bhatt, Currence’s longtime collaborator, is in the kitchen, turning out creolized takes on Mississippi-Louisiana small plates. Like trout in brown butter and pecan sauce, oysters smothered with Rockefeller-ed collard greens, duck confit on a bed of chopped apples, and, for dessert, the fat wedge of caramel cake that tastes like it was liberated from a Baptist bake sale.

Snackbar 721 N. Lamar Blvd., Oxford, MS (662-236-6363)



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