I have started a job not too far from SoBro, so that is my go to lunch area when I can sneak away. I met my friend Suzanne at Next Door this week because I thought it was about time for me to try it again after a less than stellar first experience.
We met just before noon, and I was surprised to find it not very busy. On my first visit, the place was packed. I didn’t have time for a long lunch, so we jumped right to entrées. Based on the server’s recommendation, I went with the chicken sandwich ($9.95 +$2 upgrade to fries). It sounded good—all the things that typically elevate a chicken sandwich—avocado, herb aioli etc. It also had lettuce and tomato and red onion. And a bun. A very large puffy bun that was a little dense for me. It was kind of hard to eat for me because the sandwich ended up being so big. I ended up eating it kind of open-faced and took the tomato and some of the lettuce off. I wished for a little more aioli and asked for it. I initially got it for my fries but used it for the sandwich as well. It was good on the fries, and I like the whole shoestring fries thing, I just wished they were a little hotter. But they were tasty dipped in the aioli. And I wished the aioli was a little brighter. It had a lot of herbs but could have maybe used some lemon. Or garlic. Or both. An ok sandwich that I likely would not order again.
I also had a bite of Suzanne’s honey Sriracha crispy shrimp bowl ($16.95). It was fried shrimp served on top of brown rice, charred broccolini, pickled daikon, carrots and cilantro slaw. She has had this dish a few times and has had mixed results, but when she had it and it was really good, she really liked it. I thought the shrimp were cooked nicely—they had a nice crunch to them and a slight sweetness I assume from the honey. There was a distinct taste of sesame oil to the dish, which I like. We both agreed it needed just a little bit more something—maybe just a little soy. Not quite enough of the pickled flavor to balance it out. Overall though, it was certainly the more interesting dish of the two. A few more shrimp would have been nice, particularly at that price point for lunch.
All in all, I can’t say this visit really changed my opinion about Next Door. It’s not bad, but it isn’t a place that makes me want to rush back anytime soon. Or possibly ever.
That being said, tell me your favorite places to eat in SoBro and that area, and what your favorite dishes are… I am always looking for inspiration.
4573 N. College Ave