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Nov 11, 2011 07:57 AM

Soulfood at Magoun's Saloon

I was able to check out the special Wednesday night soul food menu this week and I liked it a lot. You may recall that Chef Howie does Wednesday night specials throughout the year with each month being a different theme. November is Soul food and you've only got three Wednesdays left to check it out.

I ordered the oxtails in gravy over grits with sides of collards and black eyed peas. The oxtails were seriously scrum... falling apart tender and in a savory gravy, over cheddar grits that had just the right consistency. Collards were cooked with smoked turkey instead of a ham hock, but I actually liked these just as much because the texture was right on. Not cooked to a mush, but cooked enough that they were tender and smoky delicious. Black eyed peas were not my bag.

The full menu is here -->

Should you drive from the Cape for this food? No. But if you're in the neighborhood, you should really check out the Soul food if you have a hankering for this kind of rib-sticking cuisine. Prices are reasonable (oxtails = $12) and the patrons are very friendly. Lots of TVs if you need to take in the game at the same time. Easy parking behind the restaurant, and lots of beers on tap.

Below, a picture of oxtails and greens.

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  1. Oooh thanks, I've had my eye on the oxtails. Now I really have to get over there. Last year I tried the fried chicken which was very good (though deep-fried I'm sure). Have you tried the Jamaican patty? As long as I'm here, last month's Wednesday jaegerschnitzel (sp?) was a delicious plate of flavors. I could forgive the meat not being pounded thin enough (had it been it would have overflowed the plate, I think). Magoun's is a neighborhood gem.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Aromatherapy

      You spelled it right and you called it right. The Jaegerschnitzel was fantastic as was the sausage plate. I also really enjoyed the cheese-filled pretzel on their standard menu. Groovy beer selection too.

      1. re: Aromatherapy

        apropos of little, my vague memory is that Magoun's is a neighborhood gem when a particular guy is on staff to cook, but sometimes for personal reasons he is unavailable for week/months of time. So if your mileage has varied (mine has), this may be why.

        1. re: enhF94

          Have experienced that - had a pulled pork sandwich that was like carnitas, incredible flavor, one of the best sandwiches I have had in the past few years -

          Went back a couple of weeks later - thought I ordered the same thing and seemingly got pulled pork from a can - just wildly different.

          1. Regarding the black-eyed peas. Please clarify. Did you order them and found them unsatisfactory? Or did you not order them because you don't like them to begin with?

            10 Replies
            1. re: VivreManger

              Sorry to be unclear -- I ordered them and didn't like them. But I think I just don't like black eyed peas; I find the texture to be mushy unless they are in a cold salad prep.

              @Aromatherapy -- haven't tried the Jamaican patty yet. Is it good?

                1. re: Aromatherapy

                  You got it! I'm making my way through the whole menu. Ill report back!

                  1. re: yumyum


                    I ordered the oxtail with grits. My sides were cornbread and collards.

                    The oxtail sauce was rich and savory, like an intense demi-glace. I added a few shots of Habanero Tabasco to intensify the flavor and provide an even sharper contrast to the foil of creamy cheesey grits. The intensity of the sauce at the moment it was combined with the grits was very satisfying. Definitely one of the best single dishes I have eaten in Boston.

                    The collards were also good, crunchy, salty, with a hint of hotsauce. The pot-likker they provided was well sopped up by the cornbread.

                    The portion of oxtail was sufficient, but I wish there were more sauce and grits. I had determined that I would eat only one of the two oxtail slices, reserving the second for a later meal at home, but I could not exercise the same restraint on the grits and gravy. So a full slice of meat still beckons, but the left-over portion of the rest of the plate is puny. Perhaps I can get them to sell me a side order of grits and gravy?

                    But unlikely. My other complaint is that it is not available all the time. Perhaps it might be due to the on-again off-again schedule of that nameless mystery cook employed by Magoun's? How can we remedy this situation?

                    Other quibbles. I love cornbread and the skillet-slice was well-made. However I wish the side order options were greater. I really did not want to have cornbread and corn grits in the same meal. The other sides were too carby and heavy. A simple addition to the list of sides might be coleslaw, preferably the vinegary low-mayo option. I would have been delighted with that. It may very well be elsewhere on the menu, but I did not think to ask.

                    As for the other soul food main course options, a year or so ago I did have the fried chicken and was very disappointed. The chicken itself was scrawny and not very good quality; the fried crust was edible but nothing special.

                    At some point I hope to try the smoked bbq ribs. I don't like the boiled and heavily sauced version that you can eat without dentures, suitable for a nursing home in New Hampshire. Can anyone report about how Magoun's Saloon prepares theirs?

                    1. re: VivreManger

                      None of the Wednesday specials are on the regular menu so far as I've seen. They do have very good coleslaw (probably not as vinegary as you like but not icky) and a nice side salad, though I dearly wish they had a non-sweet vinaigrette. I'm hoping he brings back Island Wednesdays and does oxtail (still haven't tried this version).

                      1. re: VivreManger

                        Not sure what he had previously, but yumyum told me that Howie the chef recently purchased a new smoker that he was getting giddy about.

                        1. re: Nab

                          I got to try out the smoker yesterday, after Howie literally ran out to my car and asked if I wanted to see his baby. He's really excited about it. Me too.

                          By 4 p.m. the smoked prime rib was ready for the eating, and at $10/plate, the Sunday roast is a great deal, regardless.

                          Here's a crappy picture....

                        2. re: yumyum

                          the jamaican patties are more like empanadas. deep-fried with a well seasoned ground beef filling and served with a nice mango habanero sauce. 3 per order

                          1. re: galangatron

                            And the mango habanero sauce is really hot and awesome.