After generations of complaining that their cuisine was unfairly maligned and misunderstood, Southerners are now in the strange position of having to contend with every chef and his brother suddenly specializing in fried chicken, pickled ramps and pimento cheese. Unfortunately, specializing isn't synonymous with mastering, so Southerners have become accustomed to smokeless barbecue and grease-drenched fried green tomatoes.
Matt's in the Market doesn't degrade itself by clumsily Dixie-fying its menu, but instead chooses one traditional dish from the Southern canon and nails it. The deviled eggs at Matt's are outrageously good.
The exact recipe for the eggs changes (they're not fooling about that "in the Market" business), but its bones are always the same. Whether topped with a flap of oily mackerel, salmon, cornichons or a meaty Dungeness crab leg, the egg features a bouncy white and rich, supple yolk massaged with mustardy flavors. The egg's popular with customers and kitchen alike: An avocado version has shown up alongside the restaurant's Cobb salad.
There are no sockeye salmon or Dungeness crabs swimming off the Southeastern U.S. coast, but Matt's manages to honor the South in ways that elude restaurants which try to shortcut around the road to homage by beefing up their bourbon lists: The simplicity of the eggs - and their all-important reliance on fresh ingredients - is distinctly Southern, and delicious in any region.