Speaking of biscuits, they had excellent biscuits at Formaggio Kitchen at the prepared food counter last Saturday. I don’t know if they were leftovers from their Saturday barbecue earlier that day, and are therefore available every Saturday (it’s been a couple of years since I braved that Saturday morning line), or they just happened to have them that evening. (One of the cooks in their kitchen also fancies himself as a baker, I am told, so they sometimes have “cooks whim” baked goods with the prepared foods, separate from the bakery.)
These biscuits were of the flaky kind, so those who like ultra-soft, fluffy interiors may not like them.
Agreed on Sweet Cheeks - biscuits are genuinely good, meats are “good enough” but not up to real smokehouse standards, fried chicken is IMHO a little better but not a standout even in “Yankee land.”
If you’re looking for brisket, as mentioned upthread by @smtucker The Smoke Shop does a very good one (best thing on that menu by a fair margin), and I have to agree with @kimfair that BT’s Smokehouse does absolutely everything better than anyplace else I’ve found in New England. BT’s is a real destination-worthy spot even if their logo is oddly disturbing.
Assorted thoughts on other places - a couple from the OP, a couple from the thread above, and a couple not mentioned yet:
- Buttermilk & Bourbon is mostly Cajun/NOLA, and not particularly authentic at that. Has echoes of other “Southern food” (mac’n’cheese, black eyed peas) only as they might be reinterpreted in NOLA (andouille bits in the mac’n’cheese) or Boston (let’s make the black eyed peas into HUMMUS! I’m pretty sure that was Scarlett O’Hara’s favorite dish). Fine enough as a themed bistro.
- Tupelo’s menu looks to me to be leaning Cajun, but they claim to be “influenced by New England, Louisiana, and Virginia” (their ordering!). IMHO it’s a bit more true to its roots than B&B, and I think of it as tasty “comfort food”.
- Highland Fried has been covered in another thread, but deserves mention here. I don’t think they’re trying to project a Southern heritage, but their mainstays are foods from the South, and they do a workmanlike delivery of them.
- Coast Cafe (mentioned by @T.B above) is pretty good Soul food - fried chicken, smothered pork chops, fried catfish, braised ribs (sorry, just drowning it in BBQ sauce doesn’t make it BBQ), cornbread, candied yams, non-hummus black eyed peas, banana pudding with the Nilla wafers at the bottom. Plus a tiny bit of island thrown in (plantains, beef patties, jerk). Oh-so-comfort food.
- Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen - their normal menu is a mix of Cajun & Southern and for parts of it I think they try too hard to make it upmarket in New England. We go occasionally for their Sunday jazz brunch buffet - for brunch they stick to the comfort food repertoire instead of reaching too far, and while buffets bring their usual quality issues, hey, jazz.
- Just a couple blocks from Darryl’s is Slade’s Bar & Grill, an institution which I’ve been meaning to try out but haven’t gotten to yet - can anyone give a report? Their menu sticks to core Southern & Soul food: fried chicken, smothered pork chops, fried smothered chicken livers, fried catfish, black eye peas & rice, fried okra, candied yams. If you’re looking for real Southern country cooking, this might be a spot to check out.
this is great. thanks for the capsule reviews!
I already mentioned that I was in Wakefield on Saturday in my Meletharb mini-review, but I also went and had lunch at The Porch so I thought I’d write it up too. It’s a nice airy space with counter service and a few simple tables, with relatively ok country music as soundtrack, next to the train tracks.
Got the BBQ pork plate with two sides (which at 14$ is a way better value than somewhere like Sweet Cheeks!) and some biscuits. The pork was pretty good though not great, flavorful and moist and with some delicious charred bits on the ends. For one side I got mac and cheese, which the chef made up fresh in a skillet and was creamy, delicious and perfectly cooked. And my other side, the collards, were amazing–seasoned right with just a little bit of meat for flavor and done pretty much in the way I think is ideal, where they are cooked all the way through but still have a bit of snap to them. So score another one for The Porch over Sweet Cheeks, where I thought the collards were meat heavy, overcooked and frankly terrible.
The biscuits are sure better at SC tho–the ones at the Porch are not bad, but just a little bit heavy. The s.o. was with me for lunch and being a non-bbq person went for the Banty, a fried chicken/pimento cheese/pickle sandwich that she really liked. There are other good looking and reasonably priced sandwiches on the menu here too, and the pan-South plates run the gamut from Texas brisket to St Louis ribs on to shrimp and grits. It’s a good, focused menu as well–6 sandwiches, 5 or so plates and a bunch of sides. And that’s it, which I think is smart–if you’re going to pluck things from assorted regional styles, best to pick a few and concentrate on making them good.
Not mind blowing, but I’d go back.
oh and also, since I dredged up this thread: there have been positive thoughts here and there about Southern Proper. Any reports from the front?
My son and I went to the The Porch for dinner this past week as part of our continuing hunt for local BBQ. Split the hell wings which we really enjoyed with a nice heat and crunch but not “hell” especially.
I did the fried chicken with smashed and cole slaw. The chicken was well cooked, nice crunch but not too much batter. Not much heat with the chicken, I tried the espresso sauce ( really good) and the tangy sauce, which had a tart vinegary taste. Liked that as well.
DC had the brisket which was very tender, well seasoned. Had collard greens and corn bread as sides. The corn bread was so-so and the collard greens came home for my husband. Who enjoyed them with some grilled chicken.
We will continue our quest! The Rusty Can is next on the list.
this place is on my list too. would love to hear what you think when you go.