By Ann Cipperly
Chase Hudson has many cherished family memories of growing up in his great-grandparents’ home at the Callaway estate in LaGrange, Ga., now known as Hills and Dales, which is open for public tours.
While traveling extensively, Chase developed a love of good food and wine. He attended Auburn University, where he changed majors frequently, unsure exactly what he wanted to do.
After his father, Charles, retired from the insurance business and became bored, Chase approached him about opening a restaurant in downtown LaGrange.
Together they opened C’sons four years ago, and Chase found his dream job, selecting fine wines and working with Chef Devin White in creating and presenting outstanding dishes.
As the sun was setting over the towering trees lining the streets of downtown LaGrange, we arrived at C’sons. The chic restaurant was softly lit with two rows of tables and the open kitchen at the end. A 1920s brick wall on one side of the restaurant added rich character, accented with black and white prints from the head of the Art Department at LaGrange College.
On the other side of the room, a high-back gray leather banquette ran the length with rolled cushions for extra comfort. Upholstered chairs provided comfortable seating.
A spacious bar in the next room was furnished with small wooden tables. A mirrored back with glass shelves held assorted bottles for a dramatic look.
As we are looking over the menu, a plate of house-made bread arrives, baked by the pastry chef. Slices of soft bread are drizzled with balsamic vinegar reduction and olive oil for a delectable start to the meal.
Pickled okra coated with a tempura batter and crispy fried is an interesting appetizer, served with a mustard and muscadine dipping sauce.
Pasta is made in-house. Infused spinach, ricotta and roasted red pepper flavoring the ravioli pasta is a standout in the wild mushroom picatta. The ravioli is served with a variety of mushrooms in a lemon, white wine and caper sauce garnished with asparagus curls for a handsome presentation.
Another fresh pasta, herb linguine, is wrapped around red grouper to encrust the fish and then seared to create a crunchy coating. As the dish cooks, the herbs in the linguine flavor the fish, which is delicately seasoned. A blood-orange burre blanc surrounds the fish, while creamy garlic herb polenta and sautéed broccolini accompaniments provide subtle textures.
While there are a couple of steaks on the menu, a buffalo ribeye is unique in regional restaurants. The black pepper seared steak was flawless and remarkably tender paired with a garlic and blueberry demi glaze. The dish is complete with garlic roasted redskin potatoes combined with caramelized cipollini onions and a side of fresh green beans and roasted red peppers for an appealing combination.
A shared dessert was a sweet ending to a relaxed evening filled with delightful culinary flavors. The pastry chef created a fig tart by rolling puff pastry and filling with locally made fig preserves. The warm tart was paired with creamy vanilla scented custard and drizzled with raspberry sauce.
The menu is seasonal and changes weekly. Fresh fish and handcrafted steaks are the restaurant’s specialties along with vegetables and sauces with a dash of exotic ingredients. The owners have a vegetable garden and grow their own mushrooms.
White grew up in Michigan where he loved fishing and hunting. As a child, he caught his own fish, cleaned and cooked it. He attended culinary schools and trained under six executive chefs. When his parents moved to LaGrange five years ago, he followed them.
White has been executive chef at C’sons for two years and works closely with Chase on creating the menu.
Chase’s family has a long history in LaGrange and the surrounding area. His great-grandparents, Fuller and Alice Callaway, started Callaway Mills. Fuller’s brother Cason was the founder of Callaway Gardens.
Since his family traveled a great deal, Chase picked up the travel bug from them. “Traveling and eating great food in places has always meant a lot to me,’ says Chase. “I can forget someone’s name I just met, but I can remember a meal I ate eight years ago.”
Chase was inspired to try wrapping the grouper with fresh pasta while dining at a famous restaurant in New York. He ordered fish wrapped in paper thin potatoes, which sparked the idea of combining pasta and grouper.
“It has been a joy working with my father, having the restaurant together,” says Chase. “My family has given back to this community for a long time, and I was trying to find my way of doing that.
“I found my way to give back,” adds Chase, “with this restaurant.”
Located at 120 Main Street, LaGrange, Ga., C’sons
is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday.
For reservations call 706.298.0892.