Last night we had dinner at Peels which is Freeman's new sister restaurant on the Bowery.  Yes it is the new hip spot to check out on the Bowery.  I had actually walked through Peels one of the first nights it had opened and checked out the place and the menu.  It didn't really rock my boat but my friend got me the reservation and I decided what the hell. 

Downstairs is totally communal.  Drop by and grab a seat and eat.  Upstairs is the dining room.  The menu has a Southern twist.  The dining room sort of feels like a beach restaurant.  Clean, white and light wood.  The noise level is insane.  Perhaps part of the charm but definitely was raising my voice to be heard. 

I had a hard time deciding on what to order.  Doesn't strike me as a menu that would drive someone back over and over again.  But let's begin with the orders.  We did a couple of appetizers to split.  Had to try the andouille corn dogs.  Clever.  Lots of corn very little dog.  Sorry about the blurry pic.

Market vegetables and trout spread.  Radishes, carrots and cucumbers.  The trout spread was more like a trout crumble.  You tasted more citrus than the trout. 

Grilled calamari mixed with jalapenos, red onions and greens.  The calamari was perfectly grilled but the greens got mushy.  I liked the shot of spice with the jalapeno.  One of the better dishes.

Shrimps and grits was hands down the best thing.  Outstanding.   A few pieces of shrimp tossed around a soft fried egg with little pieces of bacon and grits sitting in a bowl with a brown sauce.  Really good and super rich.

One of us had the special of the night which was a braised lamb shank with a mole sauce.  It was good nothing great.  How heavy does this look?

The rest of us went with steak.  On another night I might have picked a different entree but it is September and I am over eating swordfish with summer tomatoes.  Fred had the t-bone and said it was just not good.  No flavor and tough.  He was right, I tasted it.  Also had an order of the roasted fennel on the side which was fine.

My friend and I split the massive rib-eye which was good.  Nothing special but the meat was had flavor.

Dessert was terrible.  As Fred said, it is unacceptable to make a bad dessert.  I kind of agree with him on that.  We had the special dessert which was an apple crumble.  Really tart and sour. 

The sundae was not that interesting and in need of something to jazz it up. 

The s'mores dish was just stupid.  Just what you expect.  Two pieces of graham crackers with a piece of chocolate and a housemade marshmallow inside.  A bottle of milk on the side with a straw.  Not only hard to eat but I make a better one at a beach barbecue. 

Hate to dis Peels because they couldn't have been nicer.  It might also be the latest hot spot among the Freeman die-hards but work on the noise level and tweak the menu.  Not sure Southern fare is going to keep the doors open for years to come.  I hate to do it but Peels…thumbs down.