Editor's Note: Soul Fish was certified Project Green Fork, but opted out of the program when the cost of catfish went up. What!?
Soul Fish Café
862 S. Cooper
It's been a couple of years since I reviewed Soul Fish and said it was too quiet. (It's also been a couple of years since RJA reviewed Soul Fish and said it was too noisy.) Yesterday, Warren and I took the boys (Satchel, 6, and Jiro, 4) for dinner and I'd say it was just right.
The menu looked about the same as it did two years ago, but the chalkboard that once listed the vegetables of the day was now overflowing with veggies, specials, and desserts. My eyes immediately zeroed in on the fish tacos.
Our waitress immediately brought over paper and crayons for the boys and challenged them to see who could draw the most creative picture. "What does creative mean?" Satchel asked.
"It means to use your imagination," I said.
"I'll draw fish since we are at Soul Fish," he said happily as he and Jiro went to work.
The waitress also brought the boys' water in plastic cups with lids. The plastic cups boasted that they were made from vegetables and were "annually renewable." I was impressed, even though I wasn't quite sure what this meant. (Is annually renewable better than biodegradable? Is it the same? Furthermore, if biodegradable cups end up in a plastic lined landfill does it make any difference?)
The manager, who is an acquaintance of ours, came by to chat and I was stunned to learn that the Soul Fish on a Stick was appreciated by a mere 200 Cooper Young Festival attendees. (They planned for 500.) I told him that a co-worker suggested battering the catfish and hush puppy a second time to make it one giant mess and he said he'd take it under consideration.
He also told me that I could get the fish tacos with either fried or blackened catfish so I ordered one of each along with a side of Mexican black beans. Warren was tempted by the blackened tilapia, but went with the whole roasted chicken. Satchel requested a chicken tenders basket with fries. Jiro, who has been afflicted with a stomach virus, said he wanted "nothing."
Our food came out really fast and Jiro immediately complained that he didn't get anything. No use reminding him that he didn't want anything--I loaded up an extra plate with some of Satchel's chicken, fries, and broccoli. Warren gave him some cornbread and a chicken leg off of his plate. "I'm only eating the French Fries!" he stated loudly.
"And maybe the broccoli," he whispered.
Satchel was thrilled by how long his French fries were and immediately started comparing their height to everything on the table. Between bites of fries, I made sure to shovel in some broccoli and black eyed peas, both of which he loved on our last visit. I took a bite of broccoli and commented on how yummy it was. "Mmm, there's some really good spice on it," I said.
Warren took a bite and said, "It's called butter."
I laughed thinking of how Chef Ramsay would tear me to shreds in the Hell's Kitchen blindfolded taste test.
The fish tacos were quite tasty. (Technically I'd say they were burritos since they were wrapped in a warm tortilla burrito style.) In addition to the catfish, they had lettuce and homemade (spicy! look out for the jalepenos!) pico de gallo tucked inside. They came with homemade guacamole, which I lathered all over them, and salsa. I liked them both, but the blackened catfish was more flavorful than the fried. The black beans had the same spicy pico on top.
Warren was quite pleased with his chicken and especially the sweet potato fries he ordered as a side. (They were nice and crispy.)
My only complaint about our food is that it came with too much styrofoam! A big disappointment after the fancy eco-cups. Each side came in a ceramic bowl with a styrofoam plate inexplicably underneath. (To catch the drips?) My guacamole and salsa came in separate styrofoam containers. (Our to-go box was also styrofoam.)
Somewhere along the way, Jiro conned us into promising him a trip to Baskin Robbins should he make a happy plate. I used this to fend off requests for quarters for the gumball machine.
"Gum or ice cream, your choice," I said. "Ice cream," they droned as if being punished!
While waiting for Warren to finish, Satchel asked very politely, "Can we run outside and get our wiggles out?" Considering there is only asphalt out front, I declined. "Can we get our wiggles out by the front door?" he tried. "Over there next to the gumball machine...please?"
When the waitress came for our dishes, she asked if we wanted dessert, but we declined. Satchel asked, "What kind of dessert do they have here?"
"Carrot Cake, Root Beer Float, and Chess Pie," I read from the board.
"Mmm, what's Chest pie?" he asked excitedly.