Monday, October 27, 2008

Try The Kingfish Cafe for knockout southern comfort food

Believe everything you've heard about The Kingfish Cafe. Yes it really is that good, and yes, you will wait for a table --unless you arrive ahead of the 5:30 dinner opening and hang out with other hopefuls who skipped lunch in anticipation.

The nine dinner entrees range in price from $11.25 for red beans and rice up to $18.75 for a ribeye steak. Entrees include appropriate accompaniments, such as collard greens, grits, or mashed potatoes. Starter salad or soup is not included.

For a delicious sharable starter, try the trio of Wonderful Dips. The catfish spread is the southern version of the northwest's salmon spread: fresh, creamy and rich: perfect on the sturdy and salty crackers. Slather the spicy black-eyed pea spread on a piece of crispy flat bread for a treat which puts mexi bean dip to shame. The cool artichoke garlic dip is tasty, but not as remarkable as the other two. Saying that, I must admit to mopping the artichoke dip bowl clean with the last bite of lightly toasted bread.

I had the griddled catfish entree: a generous portion of cornmeal-dredged and pan-fried fish, accompanied by a hearty scoop of tomatoey, garlicky, spicy grits and enough collard greens to make both your mom and your nana happy ($12.75) The catfish was cooked to perfection: crispy brown outer and moist, flavorful inner. The grits were mighty fine - the savory seasoning was a new thing for me. (Growing up with southern parents, grits were dressed up with butter and sugar and served with breakfast.) Collard greens hit the spot too, but if you are vegetarian, ask questions first. I'm pretty sure I tasted ham hock along with the onion and other flavors in the dish.

The menu warns that the buttermilk fried chicken entree may run out and I can understand why($15.50). I tasted a bite and it beats Ezell's chicken hands down. (Granted, Ezell's costs less and you get it quicker.)

I rarely RARELY order dessert, but couldn't pass up pineapple upside down cake. Another staple in my childhood kitchen, I imagined it would be something like the Duncan Hines kit: a flat one-layer cake, pineapple rings shining through the butter/sugar topping, and a half of maraschino cherry centered in each circle. I couldn't be more wrong. The Kingfish Cafe version of pineapple upside down cake was so right.

Kingfish Cafe

Check out Kingfish Cafe for the knockout southern home comfort food, attentive service, and warm and friendly staff. Well worth the wait.

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