Aunt Rosa Lee's Mississippi Soul Food (review+pics)
My culinary experience with "Soul Food" is pretty limited. I've had my share of what may (or may not) be considered soul food dishes in the past like fried chicken, collard and mustard greens, macaroni & cheese, hush puppies, but usually at places that refer to themselves as Southern, Cajun or Creole restaurants.
I've never been to an eating establishment where the words "Soul Food" were actually part of the restaurant name until I had dinner at Aunt Rosa Lee's Mississippi Soul Food restaurant awhile back and for some reason, I really had high expectations for a fantastic meal.
The dinner started off with what was either corn bread or corn muffins. Unfortunately, they were more burnt then they should have been. That wasn't a good start.
For my entree, I ordered a mini-dinner plate, which consisted of a meat item and two sides and believe me, mini was a misnomer. There was enough food for two people. I can't imagine how much food the regular dinner plate came with.
My meat of choice was the artery blocking fried pork chop smothered with gravy and for my two accompaniments, I chose the collard greens and macaroni and cheese. When my meal arrived, it was looking and smelling good. I was more than ready to dig in.
I started with the mac and cheese. (sigh) I was hoping for a cheese fest, but this side had a cheese sauce instead that was so thin, I didn't really get any cheesy flavor. The collard greens were underseasoned, but I just added my own salt to taste, so that wasn't a big thing.
As for the pork chop, my first bite of meat and gravy was wonderful, especially that gravy. Yummy! The second bite was just as good, but after a couple more bites, the food just seemed really salty. Perhaps, the salt that was meant for the collard greens hit the pork chop instead? Regardless of why, I certainly wasn't motivated to eat any more of the meat.
In general, I was disappointed with my meal at Aunt Rosa Lee's, but if I were in the neighborhood, I wouldn't mind trying again and only because I really liked that gravy. If it wasn't for the heavy-handed salt shaking, that pork dish would have been awesome from start to finish, so I think there's hope for better things. Also, the fried chicken that a couple of my dining partners had ordered looked and apparently was really tasty, so I wouldn't mind having a go at that as well.
To see pics, go to:
Aunt Rosa Lee's Mississippi Soul Food
2781 S Western Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90018
The questions should be, "What was right about the experience?" From the start everything went sideways. When we walked in to it took them at least 15 maybe 20 minutes to acknowledge that we were even there. That is how long it took to get a menu. We should have left then. We had to ask the waiter several times for the same items (extra butter, more water, etc.) It took an hour to get our food and when we finally got the food the orders were not complete. On one of the orders we were missing a side (macaroni and cheese) and on my order they gave me the sides but then I waited for an additional 15 minutes for the main course (smothered chicken which was actually fried chicken with gravy thrown on top of it). When it was time to pay the bill we waited at least 15 minutes just to pay the bill. They also offered us free desert but when we saw that it was taking a while to pay the bill we decided to just leave and get this nightmare over.
Hush puppies or fried okra? If it's okra, it's straight out of the freezer. I'm born and raised in MS and that is *not* how we prepare those foods. If okra is battered, it's lightly battered, but most often it's soaked in buttermilk and tossed into a seasoned cornmeal mix and pan-fried. Mac and cheese is rich and thick and very cheesy. Greens are cooked with ham, bacon, or turkey necks, well-seasoned. The corn muffins should've been pitched. Cornbread is not sweet here. Smothered chicken is *not* fried chicken with gravy thrown over it - what a travesty. The pork chop looks like a Sysco frozen one to me - especially if it was that salty. I never had a battered fried chop until I left MS - all my people lightly dredge them and pan-fry. The catfish looked commercial, too. Sorry, but I'd steer far, far away from that place! And the manners - that's the first thing we're taught and they don't go away in a public setting, that's for sure. Ugh!
Those gigantor chicken wings were actually kind of scary. Can't imagine the size of the chicken that those wings came from. They were very nicely fried and tasty, but just a wee bit scary. The black eyed peas were supposed to have okra in them according to the menu, but there was not a speck of it to be found, not even a seed. The collard greens were cooked perfectly except you're right, it could have used more salt.