We went to downtown Chandler for lunch today and saw that 98South was open so in we went just before noon. We were told by the GM, Adam, that we were the first official lunchtime customers as they had their soft opening for a week or so but only for dinner.
The place has a new coat of paint, new pictures on the wall, and the heavy drapery separating the front of the house from the back bar area has been removed. The idea, according to Adam, is to have a more open environment that focuses on food rather than bar-heavy revenue that was the focus of the past incarnation.
I had a BLT w/provolone and fried egg on rustic bread (Simply Bread) that was really tasty. Crisp, applewood bacon, flavorful tomato, and well cooked, over-med egg with all its gooey goodness. It came with a choice of sides (frites, salad, or green beans and potato salad). I misread the menu and thought I was ordering a side of green beans but got a surprisingly good green bean/potato salad side. The salad was lightly spiced with dill and poppy seeds and the sauce, which can be overly mayo-laden, was creamy and had a nice acidity lift.
Lill had a Panzanella salad that was a generous portion of mixed greens, bread cubes, roasted tomatos, and slices of parmegiano. She really loved it.
With two iced teas our bill came to $22 pre-tip.
The dinner menu, wine list, and cocktail list were enticing enough for us to make a res for Sat night. I'm especially happy to see a cocktail list that focuses on herbal, bitter drinks rather than overly sweet fruity concoctions.
The chef is Brian Ferguson. We were told by Adam that the chef's philosophy is to get very good, mostly local, ingredients and let the food speak for itself in a minimalist intervention sort of way. We think he succeeded along that line with the lunch we had today and we're looking forward to dinner this weekend.