Chez Soul, Fairfield
Fairfield is stretching the limits of "Bay Area" but there are so few notable places to eat there that's it's worth mentioning this place.
This is a family-run soul food/barbecue place similar to Trinity in Richmond but better.
The non-barbecue food is great. I've had the catfish, gumbo, and jambalya. I'm no expert on this style of cooking but thought it was excellent. Not New Orleans sublime but pretty darn good. The preparation and presentation are always perfect. Lunches are around $15 and include two sides. (I haven't been for dinner.)
The sides are good but nothing special, except the hush-puppies which are crispy outside and creamy inside with no oiliness or harshness. Nice creamy mac-n-cheese, collards, rice and gravy, yams, beans, okra (I've overheard people say the okra is great.)
The 'cue is done off-site by the dad. It isn't bad but not great - I wouldn't go just for the 'cue. The beef had a nice smoke ring, and the ribs have some smokey flavor but it's all been a little chewy. The beef link was lean and good quality; if it's not homemade then it's purchased from someone that knows what he's doing. The sauce is a thin sweet red sauce poured over the meat - ask for it on the side.
Chez Soul is shares an office building with Solano Magazine and the entrance is inside so it's tricky to see from the street. They occasionally have an A-frame sign out front.
It's sparkling clean and very friendly. The staff remembered me after my first visit and always has something cheery to say.
711 Madison St, Fairfield
(On block north of Texas)
Tues - Sun, 11:00am - 9:00pm
711 Madison St, Fairfield, CA 94533