After talking with Super Chefs main man Darnell Ferguson prior to the opening of his superhero-themed restaurant in St. Matthews, I was intrigued not just by the theme but by the creativity I found on the menu.
Super Chefs (which is sometimes spelled as SuperChefs and also as Super Chef’s, so choose your favorite) continues to be known for its breakfast, but the lunch and dinner options that have been added are what piqued my interest. Of course, there is so much to like about the menu that it’s tough to choose. For dinner, you can actually get meatloaf cupcakes with mashed potato icing and bacon sprinkles (that’s The Hulk, $15.99). I mean, how do they come up with dishes like this?
There’s a vegetarian pot pie (The Superman, $12), and there’s also The Batman, which is a cornbread waffle sandwich with buttermilk chicken, macaroni and cheese, and greens. Gotham never ate so well.
But lunchtime has its own variations, some superhero themed, some not. You’ve got everything from the ’Melo burger, topped with sweet onion jam, smoked gouda, sweet habanero pickles and candied bacon. There are salads, there’s crab Rangoon, there’s a shrimp po boy that has hot crab spread, Cajun mayo, banana peppers and, apparently, all the heat you can stand. (Oh, and most of the sandwiches come with fries, and Super Chefs fries are like thicker, better versions of Arby’s curly fries.)
But lunch got my attention specifically because of the Superdillas, creative quesadillas that tend to be just about anything but Mexican. Aquaman’s quesadilla is built on smoked salmon, while Spider-Man got pulled pork. Or, you can simply create your own. But I’ve been a fan of Batman since just after Adam West first pulled on his tights and cowl, so I didn’t even have to bother with choosing during my first visit.
And my Batman Superdilla, quite simply, was a revelation, if only for one interesting touch I wasn’t expecting. I’ll get to that in a moment.
For $8.99, it’s larger than I expected, and it basically is like what might happen if a Philly cheesesteak grew up in central Mexico. It features carmelized onions, green peppers and chopped steak. The onions are savory, the peppers finely chopped and happy to stay in the background, while the beef is wonderfully tender and also chopped. The quesadilla is buoyed by a white cheese sauce that enhances and follows through on the Philly cheesesteak allure.
But when it was placed before me, I had a moment of disappointment due to the brown drizzle on top that I immediately mistook for barbecue sauce. Not that I dislike barbecue sauce, but I simply didn’t feel it was a good accompaniment for the ingredients.
Boy, was I surprised when I took that first bite and realized it was A-1 Steaksauce. As I hadn’t read the ingredients carefully, my palate was knocked completely off-balance. And I have to say, the steak sauce on this Batman quesadilla is a game changer. I like the flavor of A-1 but I rarely use it on steak because, hey, if the steak is high enough quality and marinated well enough, you sure as hell don’t want to mask the flavor with steak sauce. But this? This was really something. And the Super Chefs menu, which fittingly is designed to look like a comic book, utilizes A-1 in other dishes as well.
It was all I could do during my next visit to not order another one, but I forced myself to branch out, so instead ordered two fish tacos, one fried and one grilled. The fish tacos at Super Chefs are $4.99 each, but they really aren’t any bigger than a taco you’d get elsewhere, so if you go that route and you’re hungry, you may want to consider a side of fries.
I was hoping the tacos would blow me away — they were quite good, but not over-the-top special by any means. Nevertheless, the fried cod version was also not your typical fish-stick-in-a-shell taco, either. It was a big, thick piece of flaky, fried cod that wasn’t far from something you’d get at a restaurant that specialized in seafood, if that makes any sense. The batter was fried to a nice crispy shell, and the flavor of the fish itself burst through. Quite nice. The taco was topped with a roasted red pepper sauce that was also a pleasant touch.
The grilled salmon taco was a different beast — plenty of fish with classic, fresh salmon flavor. This one seemed heavier on the capers, interestingly, and even with the same sauce on it, the taco had its own distinguishing personality. Overall, not bad for a $10 lunch, although I’ve had comparable fish tacos for less.
While the staff at Super Chefs has been friendly and helpful during my visits, there are still a few wrinkles in the menu and in some of the communication. It’s also apparent the menu is still a work in progress, so be prepared if you go. That’s par for the course when a restaurant is getting its legs under it, though, so no harm, no foul.
And if you go, be prepared to park on the street and walk. The place appears to already be attracting crowds. With the theme and good food to back it up, it’s no surprise.