Thursday, January 14, 2010

Local Dining

I've been making more of an effort lately to try out authentic southern style restaurants.

Davis Cafe
It's a bit off the beaten path -- there is Section 8 housing down the street (at least that's what I think it is). From the outside the Davis Cafe looks like a home; there is only a small sign indicating that it's a restaurant. When I saw that the menu was hand written and photocopied, I knew it was going to be fantastic.
I ordered the fried chicken with blackeye peas and lima beans as sides. I thought everything was very flavorful. The chicken was just spicy enough to have some kick, and was juicy. My table was also given a ton of corn bread. The decor of the restaurant certainly added to the experience. They do a breakfast which I'm going to have to check out.

Derk's is like a Zabar's or Di Bruno Brothers of the South. It's half cafeteria style restaurant, half market selling meat, produce, wine, beer and other foods. I haven't shopped at the market yet (despite it being very close to my house), but I've had lunch there. It's always packed -- it's clearly a local favorite. Their food breaks with southern tradition a bit. One of their sides, for instance, is wild rice. Southern sides are mainly made from greens, beans, peas, and okra. They also don't fry their fish and chicken as deeply as other restaurants. I think it's decent, but I have yet to be won over. I do need to try shopping there.

Martin's Restaurant
Just about everyone says that if you want an authentic southern meal, Martin's is the place to go. Try to imagine vinyl tablecloths, wood paneling, and a lot of old people. I went the other night and got the Famous Fried Chicken Dinner, which includes: two pieces of fried chicken, three sides and tea, all for $10. I was really disappointed. The chicken was dry and completely tasteless, like someone forgot to add even pepper and salt. For sides I got pinto beans, mashed potatoes and green beans. They were all so rich and sweet in flavor that I couldn't eat them. The only good thing about the restaurant was that instead of serving bread, each table was given baskets of corn muffins and biscuits.

One interesting side worth mentioning was pineapple with American cheese. One of my friends ordered it, but I could not bring myself to try it.

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