Magnolia, Inman Sq.
- Joanie May 12, 2008 09:45 AM
A friend wanted to get his b-day dinner there before they close. It was very quiet at 7:15 on a Fri. but picked up a fair amount as we ate, maybe part of the reason he's closing. I was always surprised it was so easy to walk right in and sit (no East Coast runoff?). Fried oyster app from the regular menu was great, big oysters very well fried with delicious garlicky spinach on the side. We also got one from the Texas special menu of blue corn meal fried calamari and that was good too altho I didn't read the blue part and it looked like an overdone batch at first. I really liked the fried catfish altho didn't notice the pecan crusting. Good collard greens and grits except, but the dish was served with a sauce that kind of got in the way of everything. Friend enjoyed his duck and some interesting beer you can't usually find up here. Too full for dessert so just had one of the banana muffins they serve in the bread basket. Service was super accommodating, apps in the $5-10 range and most entrees <$20. I always wondered why this place didn't get more love and now it'll be gone. Is there anything else in the way of nicer southern/Cajun food around here?
As a side note, I was at a party at Rocca last week and they were serving amazing fried clams that I don't see on the menu. They were really lightly done and very nice, maybe they're a special. Also those arancini are really good and worth checking out, esp. now that the patio is open.
Gaa! Serves me right for not getting there more often.
Now I want to get there before they close as well. Always did like it.
You can go ahead and file this under "Barmy gets testy about Texas again" and move on if you like.
So I'm looking at this "Texas festival" menu Joanie mentions, and...see, this is why this place is closing. With all of the variations of Texas cuisine to choose from, the options are:
Squid crusted in blue cornmeal: blue cornmeal is primally associated with the Indian tribes of Arizona and New Mexico. No historical connection to Texas. Any squid you're likely to be served in a restaurant in Texas will be coming from a Sysco bag.
Spicy chili-crusted chicken wing with cool mint dipping sauce: So...buffalo wings. Yes, how very Texan.
Crispy fried avocado stuffed with cheddar cheese: This sounds like something dreamed up by an intern in the home office at TGI Fridays.
Texas-sized flour tortilla stuffed with grilled pork loin layered with guacamole and chipotle salsa: apparently, no one at Magnolias knows how to spell "burrito," or they would have just called it that.
Pan-fried soft-shell crabs with remoulade: Okay, I will give them this one. You would probably see that on the menu at a place on the gulf coast. Although most people there would probably be ordering the barbecued shrimp.
Planked salmon with asparagus: look, just pouring "cumin scented mild chile vinaigrette" over something doesn't magically turn it Texan, especially not another bloody planked salmon with asparagus!
I don't get it. When you live in the Hub (as in the Hub of the Universe), everything south of Philly to the Florida border is the "South", east of Pittsburgh is the "Midwest" and "Texas" is the entire southwest to the border of California. There are also intermittent land masses known as Miami Beach, Vegas and the Republic of California. :D
Poor Texas Barmy, don't even get me started on the Louisiana side of the menu. I've had some good food there, but nothing that rings of NOLA aside from the Lone Star, and I love me some Lone Star. I've been considering doing a Smokie run for some Shiner and Abita Wheat.
Actually, I often ended up at Magnolia when East Coast Grille was packed. Never had a problem getting a seat there and there's a reason - it's totally fine, but not extraordinary. I feel like Magnolia stretched itself a bit too thin on its Southern theme - they had Lousiana, Florida, Texas and other Southern menus, without focusing on just one region. That said, I liked their Florida specials the best. Now that Hungry Mother is in town with a different brand of Southern food, I think that's a nice place to get the goods.
That's so sad that they are closing. I live in DC now but grew up outside of Boston and my parents use to take me to Magnolias (actually it use to be The Cajun Yankee for most of my youth) as a child. I loved their popcorn shrimp and gumbo as a child. It was my first real taste of cajun cuisine---the closest a New England kid could get at that time.
It's to bad its closing because it offered something different in the city.