Judging from the amount of patrons on a Monday night and the expansion of their menu to include lunch, the good people at Supper, 926 South St. , have local fans of casual-upscale dining wrapped around their collective finger.
And with good reason.
Chef Mitch Prensky’s modern American menu many not boast the widest selection, but it’s obvious the goal is to create a handful of items very well, with some surprises and fresh takes on familiar favorites.
The deviled eggs of the day ($4 lunch, $5 dinner) can compete with any summer-picnic version. The two standouts — the sweet chili and the sriracha — both benefited from a harmonious blend of spices and creamy egg textures. Still, even with the quality, you might have an effigy of your mother/grandmother/aunt pop up in your head, shouting about how you can get better deviled eggs at her ho use.
The dinner menu is divided into for three courses: hors d’oeuvresand first and second plates, each efficient and artful in its presentation.
The hors d’oeuvres were impressive. The crab latke ($7) with lemon and capers was crispy and fresh. Heartier taste buds should gravitate toward the crispy squid ($6), which had a surprisingly light touch on the frying and a shockingly spicy but pleasant kick that lingered on the palette. The duck-fat fingerlings ($5 lunch, $6 dinner) were a treat, but approach the side of truffle mayo with caution as it was very strong.
The next course was the highlight of the meal. The Boston bibb and herb salad ($9) was pure enjoyment from the first to last bites, with fresh greens, apple, bacon and cornbread and buttermilk dressing. The cornbread, which looked like a large crouton, was probably the most addictive component of the salad. The sweet and crunchy exterior gave way to a warm, soft interior, making it the star of the salad.
If we had a dollar for every time a restaurant told us their butternut squash soup was their most popular dish, the best thing on the menu or the reason people come from miles around ...
But, seeing as the staff at Supper was right about everything else, we called them on it. And they were right. Presented in a coliseum-sized bowl, the smoked butternut squash soup ($8) was a rich, sweet and savory wonder, with a toasted cinnamon-marshmallow glaze lining one side of the dish and apples and sage giving it a great crunch. We considered diving and drowning happy.
The main courses maintained the high level of quality. The spice-crusted tuna ($17) was excellently cooked — tender on the inside, peppery and crunchy on the outside — and presented with grilled romaine, roasted olives, hard-cooked egg and bagna cauda. The Supper burger ($14) definitely lived up to the restaurant’s upscale aesthetic. The hand-ground burger was tender and juicy. The bun was perfectly toasted yet soft, and the addition of caramelized onions, roasted tomato, bacon and Gruyérè put the sandwich over the top.
Dessert wasn’t the blockbuster the preceding courses were, but did end the meal on a nice note. For one, it allowed us to realize what a damned good cappuccino ($5) Supper makes. The panna cotta ($8) sounded like an adventure waiting to happen with bourbon-soaked cranberries and bacon (yes, bacon!) cookies in the mix. The resulting combination was sweet, but somehow the bold individual components didn’t come through. The banana bread pudding ($8), by comparison, was a class act. The bread pudding was just sweet enough to play well with the streak of Nutella and the modest portion of vanilla ice cream that accompanied it.
With menus for lunch, brunch and dinner, any time of the day is a good time for Supper.