Cafe Reviews

At Southern Rail in Phoenix, Chef Justin Beckett Does Southern Fare with Finesse

At first glance, there's plenty about Justin Beckett's Southern Rail to suggest it's going to be just another pileup of overworked dining trends. There's the rustic­-meets­-Steampunk décor, the open kitchen, the communal table set with mismatched flatware, Homer Laughlin diner ware, and dishtowel as serviette.

It's the neatly rehabbed comfort food from Beckett, of popular Arcadia eatery Beckett's Table fame, that sets this deluxe dinner house apart. Housed in part of The Newton, former home of The Beef Eaters, Southern Rail takes the trend in mashing up fine dining with Mason­Dixon cuisine a step further. The tidy, not­-overwhelming menu features dishes tarted up with sausage gravy and sides of cornbread, to be sure, but Beckett has finessed classic American dishes with some more subtle Southern influences, as well.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela