I love Gilbert’s. I hate driving. That being said, my friend Kristen and I gladly took at least eight road trips to Amelia Island just to eat at Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen. That’s just how damn good it is. I’ve made an appearance there many times: whether it be for brunch, lunch, dinner, or a Yelp Elite event. Chef Kenny Gilbert, the Head Chef of Gilbert’s Social, was once even nice enough to make a special, five-course menu for my birthday dinner earlier this year. So when I got word that he was opening a new restaurant in Jacksonville, my stomach lit up. It’s crazy to see how fast they were able to get the restaurant up and running. They started from the bottom at the beginning of August, and will open their doors for the first time later this month, on August 30th.
“Modern and traditional southern cuisine with international influences.”
For those who are unfamiliar, Chef Kenny was on Top Chef: Season 7. Since then, he’s won Cutthroat Kitchen, beat Bobby Flay, and has made appearances numerous times on The Food Network. And for good reason. The food. I asked Chef Kenny: “How would you describe the type of food you serve at Gilbert’s Social?” He replied, simply stating: “Modern and traditional southern cuisine with international influences.”
I got to sneak in for a photo, video shoot, tasting of the whole menu, and for an invitational dinner before they opened the doors. All I gotta say, is RAMEN. Southern ramen, to be exact. This has to be the best $12 you could possibly spend: smoked ham hock shoyu broth, ginger, bonito flakes, mirin, soy, kombu, smoked pulled pork, kale, nori, roasted shiitake, oyster, and crimini mushrooms, benne seeds, 63-degree egg, house-made jalapeño shrimp cake and egg noodles. Did you get all that? No shortcuts, all love. Chef Kenny says that this delight is planned to only be served at lunch at the moment. I told him to get this on the dinner menu ASAP because people will be asking for it. I’ll handily put it against any ramen in Jacksonville.
Other favorites include:
Wild Boar Ham Toast
Sauces for days
FL Citrus Mop, SC Mustard, Tomato Molasses, Alabama White, Hot Tomato Molasses, Hot Mustard, Datil Pepper Hot Sauce, Datil Pepper Remoulade, and Half and Half BBQ Sauce.
Grilled Marinated Okra
Don’t want to eat meat? Order the Grilled Marinated Okra: Roasted garlic, sun dried tomatoes, collard green curry, Jasmine Rice. Or the kale salad
Gilbert’s Social is on the Southside located north of the Tinseltown movie theaters and right across the street just before Blue Bamboo. It’s bright orange for pete’s sake, you can’t miss it! The doors will open for the first time Tuesday, August 30th. The resto only seats 52 people and has an open kitchen. Make your reservations now, because, trust me, there is going to be a line. http://www.gilbertssocial.co Instagram – Gilberts_Social