This eatery joins the growing roster of Midwestern culinary gems. The food is a blend of what its team grew up eating, from fried catfish to lavender panna cotta, paired with a rotating global list. What’s currently exciting Ivanov? Wines from Portugal, Australia and Austria.
Riot Dish: “Probably the Pork Belly. We have had a rendition of a pork belly dish on the menu since day one. Whenever it comes off and a new version is working guests are constantly asking when it is coming back. The latest version includes kimchi fried rice and green onion aioli. We have a lot of very talented farmers churning out great hogs.”
Q&A with chef/owner Matthew Daughaday & Beverage Director Andrey Ivanov
By Ari Bendersky
When Reeds first opened, you had recommended pairings for every dish. You moved away from that. Why?
Andrey Ivanov: You have to be fluid. If someone is a beer drinker, trying to force a high-acid white wine isn’t our idea of hospitality. We want to give our team a range of things and let them feel out what works. We even have an extensive selection of non-alcoholic drinks — shrubs, aguas frescas, grape juice made from wine grapes — because not everyone drinks.
Reeds is a reflection of how you all grew up. How does that translate into the food and beverage offerings?
Matthew Daughaday: I grew up just down the road and we ate dinner at home every night. The menu is executed on a very high level, but reads like your dinner table as a kid. We want to take away the fear and intimidation factor that some diners get when they eat out and can’t pronounce the ingredients.
AI: I moved here from Siberia when I was seven, and something I try to bring to the table is having been to a lot of places and tasted a lot of cool local specialties. Our list has Belgian beer, Sherry and vermouth from Spain, even mineral water from Georgia that I grew up drinking.
Matt, would you say you have a signature dish that takes you back to your childhood?
MD: The bacon fat fried cornbread. My dad always made cornbread and chili every winter and my favorite part was the next day taking leftover cornbread on the griddle and putting honey on it. It’s one of my favorite memories.
Andrey, what was your method for creating the wine list for Reed’s?
AI: I’m a firm believer in the principle of liquidity. Wine is to be sold and not showcased. And we do everything in retail, too. We try to build a relationship with guests that goes beyond dining. People get excited to have you help them with their cellar at home or when they’re having a dinner party. It makes it easier for us to be a one-stop shop for people.
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New restaurants always excite us, whether helmed by emerging chefs or dynamic ventures by well-known names. These spots have all opened since the beginning of 2015 and we can’t wait to see how they continue to influence the national scene.