Willie Mae's Scotch House
I finally got to eat here last Friday after having been very disappointed when they were not yet open during Jazzfest. I love good fried chicken, and it is very hard to find these days. Fiorellas used to be good, but the recent postings on this board made me avoid the place. So I was so psyched.
I went with one other friend, and the place was about three quarters full when we got there, no waiting (well, at least for a table). We both ordered fried chicken and butter beans and had brought quite an appetite.
Wel, it took an hour and 15 minutes to get our food. I understand that the chicken is cooked to order, I appreciate that. But I'm sorry, I KNOW how long it takes to fry chicken. And like I said, the place wasn't even full and most of the patrons already had food on their plate.
What are they doing: frying one piece at a time?
The wait staff said nothing about what was going on and offered no apology.
I went back to the bathroom and saw no one that looked like Willie Mae in the kitchen, everyone was much too young.
When the food finally arrived, the chicken was WAY too salty, and I like salt!
Of course we were famished and ate every single bite. Butter beans were excellent.
I was so disappointed in what I had hoped would be a truly New Orleans experience.
I guess next time I'll stick to Jacques Imos (he KNOWS how to fry chicken ala the late Austin Leslie), but they were closed for summer vacation.
Ms. Willie Mae is no longer in the kitchen (she's 93 or 94 now, I forget which). Her offspring are running the place now.
I haven't been to Willie Mays, but I can tell you about Coops and Fiorella's. I was at each in the past couple weeks to compare fried chicken. Coop's chicken was teeny-tiny. I think they accidently used one of the rabbits that they put in the jambalaya or a pigeon. The jambalaya on the side was excellent though. Fiorella's chicken was wonderful when I had it last week. I asked what was going on there and was told by a waiter that the place was sold about 6 months ago and they lost all their kitchen help because the former owner wasn't paying them and the 2 main guys moved to different cities. It tasted like they had their act together when I went. It was big and juicy and very flavorful + the mashed and gravy tasted home made. Went to Jaque-imo's about 2 months ago and would put them in second place out of the three. Jaque-imo's side dishes were pretty weak though.
WMSH was never a bastion of quick lunch service even before the storm, and no one familiar with the place would expect otherwise, particularly if you order the fried chicken. Chances were then and are today that, if others in the place order chicken before you, the wait will be longer. I never order it if I am expecting to get out of there in an hour. When I was there last week (I have been five times in recent months), with a near full crowd in the dining room (which I was happy to see), I ordered the stewed veal knowing it was already prepared. The two young waitresses are very efficient and cordial, although I miss being served by Slim. The one time I ordered the fried chicken it was a little salty, but nonetheless delicious.
As an aside, if you want great fried chicken, try Cajun Seafood on N. Claiborne. I picked up a piece last week, when buying beautiful and inepxensive boiled and raw shrimp, and it was out of this world. Its an odd place, with a combination of soul food, chineses food, as well as boiled and raw seafood, but its worth a stop for the adventuresome.