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Queen of the Sea (Soul Food Buffet)

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On the corner of 87th and Stony, almost across the street from BJ’s, is Queen of the Sea, an older soul food buffet. Certainly not as slick as BJ’s but with a comfortable beat-in feel to it. I never understood why it’s called Queen of the Sea, it’s really not a seafood restaurant. There used to be one on 47th Street but that’s gone now. Overall, there’s better soul food to be had but a lot of Queen’s stuff is pretty darn good and the price is right, especially if you’re hungry. And it never closes.

The offerings, going from not-so-great to outstanding: fried catfish in cornmeal breading (fishy), green beans (very plain, very overcooked), ham hock (not much meat, not much flavor), sweet corn (lots of added sugar), cabbage (quite good, nothing fancy), collard greens (ditto), corn bread (dry but good), short ribs (good but not equal to Edna’s), cornbread dressing (dry but very good especially with a little gravy), sweet potatoes (nice spice, sweet but not extreme), turkey (good, fall-off-the-bone), fried chicken (very good, even extraordinary considering it was steam table food), lima beans (fantastic). I didn’t try the cranberry sauce or most of the items on the small salad bar. Desserts were red jello (untried by me) and banana pudding (very good, very heavy on the ‘nilla wafers). It wasn’t on the buffet but our waitress brought us a bowl of excellent warm peach cobbler.

Sunday night charge was $10.50 including tax (beverages extra). Even more popular than the all-you-can-eat buffet were the to-go plates. I think it’s 2 mains and 3 sides, generous portions dished out by the staff into a big styrofoam container. Not sure of the price for that. The setup may be a bit confusing at first because of all the people waiting at the steam table for takeout. If you’re doing the eat-in, all-you-can-eat you can just bypass the crowd and serve yourself.

If you’re just going to try one soul food buffet, I’d probably recommend BJ’s. The Queen is certainly worth a visit, however, for more old-fashioned food and ambience.

Queen of the Sea
8701 S Stony Island
always open
773-221-3711

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