Rooftop Swank in the Summertime
The focus at the decidedly modern Black Sheep is squarely on fresh, local ingredients, hand-crafted food, and gracious service.
Black Sheep Executive Chef Waylon Rivers might not have known how far his chosen career would carry him when he got his start during high school, but the experience ignited a passion for the craft. A graduate of the FSCJ Culinary program class of 2010, he was fortunate enough to work with Jonathan Insetta at Orsay, and after a brief detour to Charlotte. NC, he made his way back home to Jacksonville to work at Insetta’s Black Sheep when it opened in late 2012.
The restaurant offers a fast-casual lunch Monday through Friday, but the concept of slow food is not lost in the shuffle. A Farm to Spoon soup of the day features the freshest possible locally soured ingredients. A Little Gem Salad showcases tender lettuce from Bacons’ Select Produce, fennel, radish, cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes and a classic green goddess dressing. Each dish is presented artfully, and the savvy diner understands that even during a hectic lunch rush, this is food to be savored.
From day one, the Duck Banh Mi has been a popular choice, with rich duck, pickled vegetables, jalapeños, cilantro, and a house made spicy mayo. The Florida Lobster Roll is another excellent option, the mounds of lobster picking up a flavorful boost from cilantro, jalapeños, market greens and herb salad.
A substantial lunch is the Black Hog Farm Chicken, with Sea Island red peas, tomato confit, red eye gravy, kale, and cornbread crumble. Insetta is a partner in Black Hog Farm, which caters to chefs like Rivers, collaborating on grow schedules and planting what’s needed to fulfill the chef’s vision for seasonal menus.
Full service brunches on Saturday and Sunday are a great time to hang out on the rooftop lounge with family and friends. Nosh on a house made everything bagel with Rye & Sorghum Cured Salmon, cream cheese and caviar, or dig into a plate of fluffy Cardamom Pancakes, accompanied by seasonal fruit, apple butter and maple syrup. Sip on a classic mimosa, or try knocking at Heaven’s Gate, with its blueberry and cucumber infused St. Germain, Prosecco and cucumber slices. Most of the weekday menu is also available on weekends. Sunshades keep the glare in check yet don’t obstruct the chamber of commerce view. Herbs grow in raised beds and containers, destined to be pressed into service in the kitchen.
Monday through Saturday dinners are where Chef Rivers’ talent shines. A Roasted Lamb Belly starter, atop a chilled field pea salad with shaved carrots, fennel and a shiso-mustard vinaigrette marries the rich fat-streaked lamb with the tart acidity of the dressing. It’s a cut no one else is working with locally, and it’s their special relationship with Black Hog Farm that affords them the ability to get creative with offerings such as this. In another light and almost whimsical starter, Crispy pig ears lend a crunch to a pleasantly tart arugula salad with bread & butter jalapeños, boiled peanut purée, radish and fresh herbs.
An absolute gem of a starter is the Calamari Escabèche. Gently sautéed calamari graces the plate along with colorful segments of grapefruit and slivers of fennel, adorned with pine nuts and lacy fennel fronds. The interplay of color, texture and taste in this dish exemplify the qualities that make Black Sheep a must for serious lovers of the culinary arts.
A favorite of Black Sheep’s Managing Partner Allan DeVault, the Mushroom & Spring Pea Carbonara begins on a fresh note with house spaghetti, Beech mushrooms and English peas, then takes on some creaminess from salt cured eggs. An option to add shreds of duck confit or pork belly makes this a wholly satisfying entrée. Meat lovers are completely at home at Black Sheep as well, with choices of Berkshire Pork Chop, Steak Diane, Korean Beef Short Ribs, and a classic hamburger featuring grassfed beef from Cowboy Meats in Glen St. Mary, Florida.
Just shy of three years in, Black Sheep has become a linchpin of life in Five Points. The rooftop deck is a popular gathering spot for drinks and dining. After a leisurely dinner service, the evening bar scene can be quite lively. Their custom cocktails and excellent wine list (a hallmark of Allan Duval’s involvement in any restaurant) are complemented with a scaled down bar menu which runs into late night.
Hours: Monday – Thursday: 10:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday: 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Saturday: 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m., brunch menu 5 p.m. 11 p.m., dinner menu
Sunday: 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m., brunch menu 5 p.m. – 10 p.m., dinner menu
Black Sheep, 1534 Oak Street, 380-3091
Mention Arbus Magazine at the Wine Warehouse, Atlantic Beach, and Riverside Liquors, during July & August and receive 20% off Stella Rosa Prosecco.
Words by Nancy White
Photos by laird
Get the recipe for Black Sheep’s Calamari Escabèche with grapefruit, fennel, and pine nuts here.
Pair it with:
Stella Rosa® Imperiale Prosecco
D.O.C. Extra Dry
Description: This outstanding, extra dry Prosecco Imperiale is produced entirely from grapes harvested in the Treviso countryside. The “sparkling” wine expresses delicate flavors of bosc pear, yellow apple, and lemon. Winner of Best of Class — Gold Medal at the 2014 Los Angeles International Wine Competition and Gold at the 2014 San Francisco International Wine Competition, Prosecco Imperiale is a “darling” right now.
Stella Rosa originates from a small town in Northern Italy where drinking exquisite sparkling wines is a daily occurrence. In Stella Rosa, the secret of these wonderful wines was brought to America where everyone instantly fell in love with them. Stella Rosa is a selection of wines imported by San Antonio Winery, owned and operated by the Riboli Family for four generations since its establishment in 1917.