Chris Rainosek and Robert Yarbrough, the foodies behind one of Fairhope’s favorite restaurants, The Wash House, are bringing an enthusiasm for innovative locally-sourced dishes to a new downtown Mobile eatery, The Noble South. “The two restaurants are similar in the quality of product and attention to detail, but there will be very little, if any, overlap of the food, ” says Chris, who serves as executive chef for both locales. “It would be impossible to replicate the atmosphere of The Wash House, so we made a conscious decision to not even try. The inspiration for The Noble South came from the relationships we had with local farmers and purveyors of goods at The Wash House.” The result is feel-good, familiar dishes including deviled eggs, fried catfish and banana pudding, each tweaked for a fresh feel. The presentation is fun but not fussy – such as pickled shrimp served cleverly in a small mason jar with a side of Saltines.
The Lower Dauphin Street location, which formerly housed Busaba’s, is light and airy with decor that is casual, funky country chic. Chris’ wife, Lesley, is the creative mind behind the design. “It includes many elements that hold symbolic meaning to the summers I spent exploring my grandparents’ barn. I get great enjoyment from repurposing and recycling materials whenever I can, ” she says. The charming details that make for such an interesting ambience originate from all over the area, from Charles Phillips Architectural Antiques to the Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival, from Antiques at the Loop to Bell Stained Glass. The restaurant derives its name from the food’s Southern influence and the Rainoseks’ young son’s middle name, Noble. There is a limited but lovely wine and beer selection. Menu items, including the ones above, vary from week to week and revolve around availability and the seasons.
ON THE MENU
A classic goes gourmet adorned with caviar and shards of bacon. A whisper of ghost pepper gives the eggs a creeping heat.
This West-Indies-inspired appetizer, pictured above, is served atop rounds of roasted beets, scattered with arugula and gilded with a trio of crispy thin onion rings.
Rabbit and Dumplings
A hearty, homey dish brims with savory rabbit and bite-sized bits of tender dumpling with a couple spoonfuls of sweet carrot chutney.
Banana Pudding Semifreddo
A glorious interpretation of traditional banana pudding. A rich, creamy, frosty treat garnished with whipped cream and banana chips.
The Noble South • 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Tu – F, 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. Tu – Th, 4 p.m. – 11 p.m. F / Sa.
203 Dauphin St. 690-6824.
text by Sallye Irvine • photo by Ashley rowe