After a busy day of dodging Evansville traffic and mad shoppers, we decided to check out a new place for a change. It was a nice drive out Hwy 66 west of Evansville to New Harmony. Upon arrival, we met the owners, Mary and Scott of Mary Scott’s Kitchen. I had previously met them at a food show in Cincinnati last summer. Mary was the former Chef at the Marriott in Nashville, TN with roots in all types of food including in house Smoked Meats and Barbecue which they plan to add in the near future.
Walking into the 126 year old building, recently remodeled for a 46 seat restaurant, I was curious what was about to transpire. I’ll say this, the experience didn’t match my expectations.
When you go to a familiar chain restaurant, you have a pretty good idea what to expect, from the service to the food and for most, that familiarity is a draw. But, going into a new “mom & pop”, you always wonder about both. The service is very important but the food quality will cause people not to return as well. This is not your average mom and pop diner or cafeteria style buffet stop.
After looking at the lunch menu, Scott brought our drinks out, which were served in nice glassware. Our table was set with silverware and cloth napkins so the expectations were raised even more. He also brought us out a dinner menu and explained each item including their signature dish which we’ll get into in just a bit.
Since it was mid afternoon, we decided to split the menu and order something from each. We started with their “Chips and Dips” which consisted of Fresh made tortilla chips (seasoned or not, your choice), guacamole and salsa. The chips came out piping hot with Chef Mary’s special blend of seasonings sprinkled over them. This simple but not overdone with ingredients version of guacamole was home made with just the rite amount of Lime added with a little kick of Jalapeno and fresh Cilantro.
The Salsa was more like a mild Salsa Fresca or Pico de Gallo with less onion and heat than something thrown into a food processor and beat to a pulp. Definitely not an “out of a jar” salsa like a popular Wings place we recently visited. I’d expect this type of quality from an actual Mexican restaurant, not an upscale / casual diner. It was fresh and bursting with flavor which was completely unexpected and a wonderful surprise. I just wish there was more of it to eat in one sitting. It was that good! So at this point if this was any indication of things to come for the rest of the meal, we were in for a real treat.
Next to come out was their signature dish, Shrimp & Grits. I’ve only had Shimp & Grits from a few places in the Tri-State, but these are on the top of my list. If driving here for the chips and dips weren’t enough of a reason, coming back for the Shrimp and Grits will definitely be cause for return. First, the Shrimp were huge and cooked perfectly. Seasoned just right and topped with red & green peppers and freshly cooked bacon, the grits were not too creamy and exploded with flavor.
For our main dishes, we tried their hand formed, 6.5 oz cheeseburger on a freshly toasted Kaiser Bun. Served with red onion slices, lettuce, tomato and a dill pickle on the side, this grilled to order burger is the real deal. Not your average burger from a fast food restaurant, I’d put it up against any burger in the tri-state as one of the best tasting burgers around. The fried to order French fries were delicious was well.
From the dinner menu, it was a toss up. After a discussion about the quality of steaks served around the area, we were assured that when you order one of Mary & Scott’s Ribeye Steaks, it is a hand carved and prepared to order just like their pork chops. So they brought out (for illustration purposes) a sample of both for me to share with you.
After some back and forth, I decided on their Fajita Burrito. Served with their fresh chips and salsa, it’s hand made to order with Chicken or Steak and comes with Rice, Black Beans, fresh cilantro, peppers, onions and tomatoes. Of course, by now, I was stuffed and couldn’t finish the entire Burrito, but could take it home to finish later.
They also brought out a cookie for me to try but I bit into it before taking a picture (oops). So I won’t disgust you with a half eaten cookie. I’ll just say it was a 3″ round chocolate ice cream sandwich sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. Wow, what a finish!
Monday’s are home made meatloaf and mashed potato day. Tuesday’s are scratch made Chicken and Dumplin’s day and they have specials throughout the week. They are open from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm on Sundays, 11-8 Monday – Thursday and 11-9 Friday and Saturday.
Mary and Scott plan to add alcohol too and change up menu items while they find what the customers really like. Once the smoker is added, they will be doing Memphis Style (and others I suspect as well) BBQ. From what we sampled tonight, I don’t believe there will be anything on their menu that won’t be absolutely delicious.
We highly recommend a drive out to New Harmony to try out the outstanding food and friendly atmosphere at Mary Scott’s Kitchen.
Mary Scott’s Kitchen
518 Main Street
New Harmony, Indiana 47632