Making Waves 

A new chef at Currents, plus sushi at Thai Bistro and Mr. Hill’s opens.

Scott Donnelly is the new chef at Currents. After working in Atlanta and a brief stint under Ben Vaughn at Grace, Donnelly is now applying his uncomplicated but refined style of cooking to the Currents menu.

"I would say the cuisine is in the same vein as before," Donnelly says, "but it has my fingerprints all over it. It's simpler, a little more pure with flavor profiles. Not a lot of heavy sauces."

There are some outstanding additions to the appetizer list, including a house-made duck pastrami and a twice-baked goat-cheese soufflé with chili-spiked clover honey and herbed polenta cracker. As for entrées, Donnelly highlights a few dishes in particular.

"We have a beautiful double-cut pork chop with croissant apple and sausage bread pudding, roasted fall root vegetables, and a little bit of apple butter," he says. "We've also got a duck confit tortellini served with wild-mushroom ragout, smoked bacon, and an aromatic broth. The chicken cassoulet is my take on the classic French cassoulet, which normally takes about six hours to cook. It's a white-bean ragout with a confit of chicken legs and thighs and then topped off with bread crumbs and browned, and finished with a chicken breast and apple sausage."

The menu will change with the seasons, which Donnelly notes is practically a requirement these days. "The last thing you want to do is sit down and eat a Caprese salad in January when the tomatoes are Styrofoam."

Appetizers at Currents run from $8 to $14 and entrées from $19 to $28. They are open every day from 7 to 10 a.m. for breakfast and from 5 to 9 p.m. for dinner.

Currents at River Inn, 50 Harbor Town Square (260-3300)

Last month, Thai Bistro added a sushi menu to their authentic Thai offerings. At the request of multiple loyal patrons, owner Kimly Bun hired a sushi chef to craft a special menu with Thai influences.

"The sushi has more Thai flavor: coconut, curry sauce, stuff like that," Bun says. "We incorporate our Muai Thai beef — a popular dish of rib-eye marinated Thai style — and we put that on the sushi. [There's also] the Island Roll with fruit on top of the sushi roll and seasoned with coconut milk."

Right now, there are about 15 to 20 rolls on the menu, but Bun eventually hopes to have 50. The rolls are priced between $7.95 and $10.95, but during happy hour, from 5 to 7 p.m. every day, there are $3 regular rolls and $2 nigiri.

Thai Bistro is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.; Friday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m.; Saturday from noon to 10 p.m.; and Sunday from noon to 9 p.m.

Thai Bistro, 1250 N. Germantown Pkwy. (755-6955)

Mr. Hill's Southern Revue is now open at 149 Madison. This Southern-Creole restaurant takes the place of the former Market Cafe and has already made over the space with old hill-country knickknacks and a neat electric Piggly Wiggly sign.

As for the food, Mr. Hill's offers certain Southern standards with interesting twists. The Voodoo Wings, for instance, are served in a pomegranate sweet chili sauce with a blue cheese yogurt dipping sauce, and the Down South Egg Rolls are made with smoked chicken, roasted red peppers, collard greens, and sweet corn with a peach marmalade dipping sauce. Smoked tomato soup and a grilled four-cheese sandwich, crawfish risotto, po'boys, and smoked chicken and andouille gumbo round out the menu.

Mr. Hill's is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Mr. Hill's Southern Revue, 149 Madison (922-5559)

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