For a 7-year old, my daughter watches the Food Network religiously and in particularly Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Yah, she loves Guy Fieri. Say what you want about some of the joints he visits, there are a few gems to be found amongst them. On our drive down to Portland, we decided to stop by Southern Kitchen in Tacoma, partly due to her love of Triple D's and mostly because we wanted to get something we don't normally see much of in Vancouver. On that note, it looked like we weren't the only ones with that idea as we had to wait a bit for our table.
We began the meal with a couple of appies including the Fried Green Tomatoes and Fried Okra. Crunchy in spurts, the fried green tomatoes were tender on the inside. They weren't mushy tho, retaining a soft bite while contrasted by the bits of firm cornmeal. They were on the greasier side though. As for the okra, the exterior batter was crispy while overly thick. We weren't sure if these were made fresh as they seemed stiff and lacking moisture. Inside, the okra retained a bit of firmness while being its slimy self. In the end, this was probably the weakest item we had.
Before our actual meals, we were served Cornmeal Cakes (included with our entrees). Doing their best impression of a fluffy pancake except with the crunch of cornmeal and a noticeable sweetness, my son like them despite being very different than a regular buttermilk pancake. I added some butter, but stayed away from the syrup as they were sweet enough. On the topic of sweet, the Sweet Peach Drink was really sugary and full of flavor. It could've been had with whipped cream on top, but we decided against it. As the ice melted, the drink did become less potent. Yet they could've eased up on the sugar.
Onto the mains, I had the Beef Brisket with Mac n' Cheese and Candied Yams. Well-portioned and fork tender, the brisket was lean and meaty. It was dressed in a fairly sweet and tangy BBQ sauce that helped keep the drier parts moist. The mac n' cheese was spiked with a considerable amount of real cheddar. Hence, it was pretty gooey while not really all that saucy. The dominant flavour was that of the mild cheddar where a bit more salt was needed to liven it up. As for the yams, they were soft and overly sweet like candy. Viv decided to try the Fried Chicken Wings with Mac n' Cheese and Mashed Potatoes. With a firm well-seasoned crunch, the chicken wings were somewhere in between dry and moist. The mashed potatoes were smooth and dressed with a thick peppery gravy.
Girl Smiley went for something similar in the Southern Fried Chicken with Mac n' Cheese and Candied Yams. Although larger than the wings, the chicken thighs were similar in texture being on the drier side. The skin was well rendered though with a firm crunch from the coating. Guy Smiley ended up with the Fried Catfish and it was moist and flaky with a crunchy cornmeal coating. It's trademark muddiness was part of the flavour profile, yet at the same time, it wasn't overpowering. Being boring, he had the same sides as I did, so nothing more to say about them! Alright, I'm not an expert on Southern eats, but I do know what I like and don't like. In general, the food at Southern Kitchen was "okay", but not super-memorable. Maybe I need to travel much farther south next time.
- Fairly good portions
- Excellent service
- Depending on what you order, there are some decent eats
- Okay, but not great
- Crazy busy, so a wait will be normal