We’ve all driven by that big old house on Cantrell by Dillard’s Corporate Offices and thought, “That house is beautiful…why isn’t anybody doing anything with it?’ Well, after a few years of sitting empty, someone finally IS doing something with it. The McDonald-Wait-Newton House, more commonly known as The Packet House, has recently opened it’s doors to the public as a restaurant.
Wes Ellis, the Owner and Executive Chef, describes the cuisine as modernized Southern Comfort Food and the descriptor seems apt to me. My friend and I dined at The Packet House on a recent Thursday. We were led through the suprisingly (in my opinion) modern interior to a small room tucked into the back of the house that also led out to a deck. The atmosphere would have been great if it weren’t for the other occupants of this room (a group of around 15 young women celebrating a birthday) with white table clothes and sparse modern deco.
My companion ordered the trout and I ordered the duck breast. The menu descriptions didn’t do justice to the perfectly cooked duck sitting in a sweet tomato reduction with good ol’ southern hoppin’ john on the side. Halfway through our meal we decided to switch plates and I was very pleased with this decsion as well. His trout was pan seared with the skin still on, sitting on ratatouille and drizzled with a lemon beurre blanc. We enjoyed a very nice bottle of Reisling with the meal, one of my new favorites that I will be searching out in stores.
Would I recommend this restaurant to guests? I most certainly would, both for the food and for the beautiful house that it is served in! What better place to send guests from one beautiful historic mansion than to another!