Friday, March 9, 2012

Southern Kitchen

Southern Kitchen is a soul food dive restaurant located in Tacoma, Washington. If the name sounds familiar, they were featured on "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" in 2009. Since then, their from-scratch, tasty Southern dishes have continued to rack up the awards.

OK, so it's about 2 p.m. on a Sunday, and the place is packed. I mean, I feel like a sardine in an unopened can here. Can't find any place to stand without getting in one's way. Oops.

Corncakes flew out of the kitchen, to the point where I swear the server had wings. I saw people sipping on sweet tea, strawberry lemonade, and mango lemonade. The beverages are served in jars, which can evoke some true Southern imagery. The lemonades are house-made and may come with whipped cream on top. Blew my mind for a sec.

Strawberry lemonade with whipped cream
I had trouble picking out just one great dish. I decided on catfish because I hadn't had that in a very long time. It is a whole catfish, fried with a cornmeal-like breading on the exterior. It came with a corncake, a hush puppy, and two sides. Collard greens were a must-have for me.

But huh? Cornbread dressing? What is that? Sure, I'll get it!

Fried whole catfish w/hush puppy
(Southern Kitchen)
The catfish was prepared wonderfully. The crispy cornmeal breading worked against the moist fish. Sure, I probably ate a few little catfish bones along the way, but whatever. No harm, no foul here! The catfish "skeleton" otherwise came off rather easily. Man, that was cool! I kinda wish I videotaped or photographed that.

The collard greens had bacon in there. Bacon! Oh yeah, you know you want that meat crack. The greens retained their color and had broken down perfectly. The hush puppy was pretty good. However, this savory sphere of cornbread could have been a bit crispier on the outside. The corncake had a lovely touch of sweetness and would definitely go well with syrup, butter, and/or some jelly/jam.

Collard greens
So now, what about this cornbread dressing? I personally loved it. Reminded me of mashed potatoes and gravy. It didn't feel extremely heavy in the stomach, which surprised me a bit. I'm very pleased with that choice, and I'd get it again next time.

Cornbread dressing
Aside from the cramped environment, I know at least a couple of tables who arrived after me, were seated, and got their food before my takeout order got in my hands. Not sure it takes that much longer to fry a catfish and get those sides on the plate.

People from all backgrounds flocked here. In particular, I focused on several African-American women enjoying their food. Seemed like fried chicken, collard greens, and candied yams were some of their picks that day. They shared many laughs and even hollered to another woman at the next table about the fried chicken. Smiles all around. Yup, I'll have to get the fried chicken next time. Seeing these interactions warmed my heart. That's what great soul food does. 8/10

No comments:

Post a Comment