Gilbert's Underground Kitchen - Fernandina Beach, FL
Gilbert's Underground Kitchen is the brainchild of Kenny Gilbert, who was on season 7 of Bravo's Top Chef. My MIL had nothing but amazing things to say about Gilbert's so it had to be our last stop before leaving sunny Florida. I'm so glad we went. It was all delicious!
Gilbert's is located on the main roadway of Fernandina Beach that heads into Amelia Island, which is about 45 minutes north of Jacksonville, FL. It's definitely a quaint and beautiful beach town that's fun to visit year round. They serve BBQ with a twist. After sampling much of the menu, I promise you can't go wrong with anything you order.
As soon as I saw Deviled Egg Toast on the menu I knew I had to have it. It's rare to see deviled eggs on any menu and I figured this place could do it right. Sure enough they did. It was a creamy and perfectly eggy mixture of diced hard boiled eggs topped with kale and pickled peppers. The pickled peppers added a great crunch and acidity to balance out the eggs. The toast had a good char and was extra crunchy, adding yet another textural layer. It was truly a great a way to start dinner.
Of course we shared since there were five of us at the dinner table. Someone ordered this tasty Baby Kale salad. It was delicious of course. The kale was mixed with red onions, which gave it a nice crunch and bite. The croutons were made out of cornbread and added more crunch and flavor. It was tossed together with a pepper buttermilk dressing. It provided a nice balance with it's tanginess.
In case you couldn't tell, the food at Gilbert's is perfect for sharing. It's a great way to try different things on the menu, even when you think you're the only one that will eat whatever you ordered. To this end, we shared the BBQ sampler. What better way to try what Gilbert's is known for than having the BBQ sampler. The sampler had pulled pork, pork ribs, andouille sausage, chicken, and...wait for it....gator ribs. That's right folks, ALLIgator ribs.
Everything had a nice smokey flavor. The chicken was moist and the pulled pork was my absolute favorite. It fell right off the bone. It was interesting eating the alligator ribs. This was either the first time I've had it or I just wasn't a foodie whenever it was I first had it. It tasted like chicken, which was great because it was like eating meaty chicken ribs. The BBQ sauce was deliciously tangy.
We just couldn't get enough side veggies! There's literally is something for everyone even if it is BBQ. The Brussels Spouts Slaw was made of sliced brussels tossed with pickled raisins, pecans, peppers, onions and apples. The pickled raisins were my favorite in this dish because it add nice burst of tangy sweetness to each bite. It was mixed with a cider mustard seed dressing and overall had a great balance of favors. We also ordered another brussels dish made with whole brussels this time tossed with scallions and large slices of pear. Another balanced dish between with the brussels and the sweet fruit. It was delicious as well!
Ok, so we finally ended the sharing feels with good old fashioned mac and cheese. However, don't mistake this for your average run of the mill mac and cheese. The mac part was perfectly cooked cavatappi pasta, which is a corkscrew shape. It was a perfect pasta for the lovely cheesiness to grab onto, which was a mixture of black pepper queso, pimento cheese and cheddar. It was quite the heavenly mac and cheese. It also had an added crunch with the cheesy saltine gratin mixed throughout.
But we couldn't just end it there. We had to share dessert and that dessert was this deliciousness. It was a s'mores chocolate pie. Yummy charred, but not too burnt marshmallows topped a decadent chocolatey mouse pie. It was a perfect sweet end to a great meal.
Through and through Gilbert's was an amazing good nom adventure. Lots of great food to share with great company. I love finding places like this tucked away in little cities. You should definitely make your way to Gilbert's Underground Kitchen if you find yourself in the Jacksonville, FL area. It's a close drive and you'll definitely love every minute of it.