New Restaurants to Try in 2021: Syd’s FishPig Café

Syds Fish Pig Featured

Fasten your serviettes, he’s back! Sydney Meers, Coastal Virginia’s ne plus ultra chef-artist extraordinaire, takes us on another wild, kaleidoscopic, epic epicurean ride at Selden Market where his decades of titillating senses (begun nearby at TheDumbwaiter in 1989, then Cowboy Syd’s, most recently Stove) culminate in this riotous fun house of fabulous food.

Look left, look right, look up, look down—his folk-narrative paintings, colorful carnival chalkware, Doo Dah scepter, photos with celebs he’s (un!?!)clothed and fed—vivid traces of his erstwhile iconic eateries and provocative antics get cocktail-shaken with funky new turns (melted LPs to cradle his incomparable bread, the “Beyond-The-Algonquin-Round-Table” for gossip with grits) to create a groundbreaking, full-circle homecoming he quips is “like you walked inside my head.”

His James Beard-recognized, bold-flavored, nouveau Southern cuisine concentrates on, yes, fish and pigs—“real deep” gumbo, juicy halibut on turnip and purple potato—ever-motivated by his Mississippi heritage, sourced from longtime farmer friends and his own urban farmette (where he smokes his meats).

There’s a compact yet comprehensive wine list, and, at the shou sugi ban-treated bar, Cat Keller, mini-barreling bourbons and ryes, infusing ice rings that glissando into her award-winning elixirs. Like most of his team, she’s been with him forever. The Syd Show cavalcade returns (is that Vanessa Williams belting out “Save the Best for Last?”), as seasoned as Meers’ cast iron skillet, as fresh as ever.

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Marisa Marsey
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Marisa Marsey is a food, beverage and travel writer whose awards include 1st place Food Writing from the Virginia Press Association. A Johnson & Wales University representative, she has sipped Château d'Yquem '75 with Jean-Louis Palladin, sherpa-ed for Edna Lewis and savored interviews with Wolfgang Puck and Patrick O’Connell.

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