Did you notice? The weather this week has been perfect. Lows in the 50s, highs in the 70s, crisp and sunny with a steady fall of autumn leaves. Perfect weather for a pumpkin beer or a bowl of butternut squash soup.
Or heck, dinner on the patio. Am I right?
To celebrate the season, my editor and I decided to meet up for appetizers at Eighty3’s new patio. The restaurant, named for its address at 83 Madison Ave., opened in 2011 and has since become a go-to for bold, Southern flavors.
We started with the Eighty3 Signature Skillet Cornbread ($8). It was sweet and lightly spicy, with an appealing, crisp crust. The accompanying honey-jalapeno butter was tasty, although I wish there had been more of it.
Then came the Eighty3 Chopped Salad ($12), hold the bacon. It was crisp and fresh, crammed with fall flavors: onions, apples, avocados, tomatoes, and corn. The dressing was light and tangy, and the gorgonzola cheese added a piquant note.
Last was the Hummus Plate ($11). The addition of garlic-marinated white beans to the usual garbanzo mix gives this hummus a light, creamy texture, and the pita chips seemed to be home-made.
The patio itself was cozy and well-lit, like something you might encounter in New Orleans’s French Quarter. Somehow the heat lamps seemed to know what temperature it was (is this possible?). They would switch on as the temperature got cooler; as a result, the patio stayed warm well into the night.
Meanwhile, outside the window, pedestrians and cyclists rolled by on South Main St. Altogether, it was a great way to spend a cool fall evening.