Another Uncle Al's convert
- Kriss Reed
Last night, curiosity got the better of an aspiring chowbud and me as we sought our culinary bliss at 1st and Elm in downtown LBC. I ordered the 4x4 special with the green beans and spicy rice, the beans being the better with an unexpected kick of spice. The four hush puppies served with the plate were among the best I've yet had, a very crunchy coating hiding the savory dough. The fish pieces (I chose catfish) and shrimp were judiciously coated in a flavorful batter whose non-oily texture seemed to have been perfected by years of practice. I mixed copious amounts of the house tartar and red sauces for dunking these tender morsels, but they were flavorful enough standing on their own. I am very lucky to have a two-week apartment-sitting stint coming up next week just a few blocks from Al's, and plan to become familiar with more of their menu offerings. Thanks again to Youndo, Heather, and all the other hounds who sang the praises of this down-home temple o' fish. I'm now a member of the choir, singing the gospels of fried seafood to any hounds listening.
Kriss, glad you liked it! I'm originally from the South, and Al is the only thing out here that reminds me of the food back there. Sometimes there's live music but I'm not sure when. Ask Al. One time, he had a big lady belting out some nasty R&B, and a sax player. She had a wireless mic and was out on the sidewalk screaming at people and cars driving by Patty Labelle style. Another time, a guy was playing some kind of electric flute. Definitely a "garahn-teed" fun and yummy time. I'll second the rec. for the LB Johnny Rebs too.
Kriss, I've been breaking my neck trying to get you an email. Please email me your correct address!
Coincidentally I had Johnny Reb's for lunch today (re FED) and we had a happy table full of pork, fried chicken, greens, hush puppies (moister on the inside than Al's), catfish, biscuits-and-gravy and Brunswick stew. There's always a wait at lunch, but it's worth it for the great food and hospitality.
Al's catfish is better than JR's and M & M's IMHO and he sure does get some funky entertainment!
Kriss, you should come down to Al's on the 2nd Saturday night if you can, they have East Village Art Walk and the neighborhood is at its most festive.
Don't for get to try Al's Fish Eggroll! I'm also hideously fond of his scallops -- normally I go for scallops in a simple butter and garlic saute, but Al's batter is just amazing!