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ISO Authentic Soul Food in or around Boston

BellatrixStar Feb 8, 2010 08:06 AM

Now that Bob the Chef's has been gone for a while, are there any other authentic or close to authentic Soul Food restaurants/takeout joints in or around Boston that anyone can recommend?
Please don't say Firefly's.

Thank you!

  1. a
    AmbigEthnic Feb 8, 2010 08:20 AM

    Mrs. Jones (Dorchester - Lower Mills) and M&M Ribs in Roxbury (truck is near Melnea Cass) - both have excellent soul food - Mrs. Jones has the better sides, M&M the better meats...

    1. C. Hamster Feb 8, 2010 08:27 AM

      MRS JONES!

      1. BellatrixStar Feb 8, 2010 09:17 AM

        Thank you so much! Mrs. Jones it is! I'll have to report back :-) Has anyone tried the fried chicken and waffles place I keep hearing about in Dorchester?

        8 Replies
        1. re: BellatrixStar
          C. Hamster Feb 8, 2010 01:20 PM

          If you mean The Hen House, its near Newmarket Sq on Mass Ave, not Dot.

          I drive by a lot by havent been in yet. I do plan to go, though.

          1. re: BellatrixStar
            maillard Feb 8, 2010 01:39 PM

            I went to the Hen House recently and liked it. Some of my dining companions got cold waffles, but mine was warm and tasty and the wings were delicious.

            1. re: BellatrixStar
              BarmyFotheringayPhipps Feb 8, 2010 09:28 PM

              Don't bother. Wanted very much to like it, did not enjoy it in the least.

              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                BellatrixStar Feb 11, 2010 07:13 AM

                That stinks to hear! Guess I'll just wait to go to Waffle House when I visit my family!

              2. re: BellatrixStar
                nsenada Feb 9, 2010 12:29 PM

                Yeah, not much to write home about. As noted by others, the sauces appear to be brought to you by Sysco, and neither the waffle nor the chicken blew me away (though they did put me in a serious coma for the rest of the day). I remember getting the chicken on the bone, and it was pretty greasy and not crispy at all. Others had the boneless tenders, and they did look a lot better. I make those Marian Cunningham recipe yeast-based waffles at home, and nothing you can get anywhere even comes close to being as good.

                1. re: nsenada
                  Allstonian Feb 9, 2010 12:36 PM

                  I use the Cook's Illustrated recipe for yeasted waffles, inspired by the truly excellent ones served at Centre Street Cafe in JP.

                  1. re: Allstonian
                    nsenada Feb 9, 2010 12:47 PM

                    Dang - now I have to go try the Centre Street ones. I've seen that CI recipe, it's very similar to the Marion (got the spelling wrong earlier) Cunningham one, with a couple added steps, if I remember right. My only modifications are reducing the butter to 1/4 cup, browning it, and subbing barley malt syrup for sugar.

                    1. re: nsenada
                      BarmyFotheringayPhipps Feb 10, 2010 11:11 AM

                      Oh, malt would be excellent in those waffles! We'll have to try that.

              3. g
                gimlis1mum Feb 8, 2010 11:03 AM

                A Taste of Soul is pretty new, on Ferry street near the Malden/Everett line. Haven't made it in there yet but they're getting good reviews on Yelp.

                3 Replies
                1. re: gimlis1mum
                  BellatrixStar Feb 11, 2010 07:13 AM

                  Nice and I'm moving to Malden in March! I can't wait to try it! Thanks for the tip!

                  1. re: BellatrixStar
                    itaunas Feb 11, 2010 08:15 AM

                    The menu it was a mix of BBQ and Soul food, but didn't get a chance to try it because at the time it was cash only. There is a convenience store on Main in Everett which also seemed like it _might_ be serving some soul food items (based on the chalkboard saying fried chicken, ribs) but it wasn't certain. The name slips me (I posted it somewhere, but its not with the posting on A Taste of Soul), but its right near Continental Bakery and the place which offers post-fire cleaning services/soot removal/etc.

                    If you are particularly interested in Soul Food, its commonly served with Church dinners at primarily African American churches (and can be quite good). A few Churches do monthly lunches open to visitors, occasionally there are fundraisers (such as a fish fry or summer BBQ). If you are moving to Malden, Zion Baptist Church on Broadway in Everett sometimes does events like those (either there or in conjunction with its afilliate in Framingham). Concord Baptist in the South End used to do the lunches at least once a month and because of its location drew many sorts of people sort of like Bob The Chef's (for example I sat once with a Berklee student from Japan). This is also a good way to try home cooked latino foods too -- if you take the time to try their church, they will often share other parts of their culture (Hispanic and Brazilian churches tend to do canteens as a fundraisers -- tamales, pasteles, kebobs for sale).

                    Did anyone ever try that catering service Boston's Food for the Soul? They let their website expire, so presumably they are not doing it catering/delivery (at least not officially) anymore. I had been thinking about placing an order from them just to see and noticed the site was gone.

                    1. re: itaunas
                      BellatrixStar Feb 12, 2010 08:14 AM

                      WOW talk about thinking outside the box! I would've never thought of that and I truly thank you for sharing...excellent idea :-)

                2. s
                  Soxfan49 Feb 8, 2010 08:15 PM

                  I'm a big fan of the Coast Cafe in Cambridge. Very good fried chicken and they offer the full range of sides, I could eat their collards all day long. They are purely a take out place though, the only seating is a couple of stools.

                  1. Luther Feb 9, 2010 03:04 AM

                    I would describe Coast Cafe in Cambridge as authentic, though I don't love the food

                    1. Matt H Feb 9, 2010 05:18 AM

                      3rd the recommendation of Mrs. Jones, the owners are from Mobile, AL and know how to do it right.

                      1. p
                        Pegmeister Feb 9, 2010 01:11 PM

                        Mrs. Jones is popular at my house as well. Good food, lovely people.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Pegmeister
                          BellatrixStar Feb 11, 2010 07:18 AM

                          Thanks! I already made a date with my friend to try out Mrs. Jones next week! Can't wait!

                        2. b
                          BackBayGirl Feb 10, 2010 06:50 AM

                          Tupelo in Cambridge is excellent & they serve up good Southern style food. Their fried chicken & waffles they serve at brunch are excellent! Hit them up!

                          1. l
                            lexpatti Feb 10, 2010 07:09 AM

                            I loved bob the chef! On my list is Hungry Mother - hear great things and they have bbq shrimp and grits, collard greens, corn bread, oyster stew, fried catfish, - sounds pretty soul to me!

                            Anyone been and care to share?

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: lexpatti
                              gourmaniac Feb 10, 2010 07:29 AM

                              My favorite was the departed Poppa B's on Blue Hill Avenue. I thought their fried chicken and ribs were both excellent and sides were delicious. It was a big loss to have their neighborhood owned place close. Mrs. Jones is good but a step below for me.

                              1. re: gourmaniac
                                MichaelB Feb 12, 2010 08:54 AM

                                I also mourn Poppa B's - I didn't get there as often as I do to Mrs. Jones (which is in my neighborhood) but I agree that it was great, maybe a notch above Mrs. Jones. Would love to hear updates on whether the owner plans to re-open somewhere else - that was a pretty tough location.

                                Count me in as another vote for Mrs. Jones - with a few suggestions for the OP. First, CALL before you go - in theory she's open until 8:00 but she sometimes closes the doors a LOT earlier if she's running out of food. Also, note that it's cash only and basically take-out only -- there's a tiny counter on the side but it's mostly there to hold hot sauce.

                                A few recommendations: the fried chicken is good but it's only wings. ENORMOUS wings, but still only wings. The 1/2 barbecue chicken is great - fall-off-the-bones tender with a great sauce. The pork chops are also great - simmered until super-tender. I like their ribs too but they won't replace Blue Ribbon for me. The ham is just ham. Fine but unexciting. Sometimes they have smoked turkey legs which look awesome, but I just can't bring myself to eat those when I'm not at the Topsfield Fair. For the sides, I really like the sweet potatoes (but they are VERY sweet), the green beans (long-cooked, a bit spicy, with a few chunks of potato mixed in), and the cabbage (surprisingly delicious). The mashed potatoes are pretty bland, and the mac 'n cheese is fine but not raveworthy (for me at least, others might disagree).

                                As others have said, the owners are super-nice. Have a great time!

                              2. re: lexpatti
                                BarmyFotheringayPhipps Feb 10, 2010 11:15 AM

                                I lovelovelove Hungry Mother. One of my favorite restaurants in town. But it is NOT soul food. It's bistro food heavily influenced by southern cooking, which is not the same thing. Go expecting to get the itis and you'll be a little disappointed, but you should definitely go.

                                1. re: lexpatti
                                  BellatrixStar Feb 11, 2010 07:15 AM

                                  As silly as this is...I had a bad experience with the owner of Hungry Mother through something work related so now I refuse to patronize the restaurant out of principal :-(

                                2. a
                                  Andymayo99 Feb 11, 2010 08:29 AM

                                  House of Prayer on Seaver Street, across from Franklin Park.

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