Sunday, October 26, 2008

Alfreda's Kitchen Review

Alfreda’s Kitchen
1845 Gerstner Memorial Blvd
Lake Charles, LA
Monday - Friday 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM $8
This venue is located in the little cafe attached to Jones Grocery on Hwy 14. This has been the spawning ground for two fine soul food restaurants in town, The Lunch Box and Lagniappe (not the magazine). The entrance has a bright blue fire door. I pass it coming home from work hoping to see the "blue door" open again. The interior little changed from former occupants it offers booth seating. Again a place that does mainly a take away business. It is convenient for me with my amputation to eat there but to tell you the truth even if I had both legs I would eat in. Places like this give me a homey feeling especially if the food is good
My first lunch there was smothered liver and onions over rice. The liver was so tender I could cut it with the plastic fork they gave me and the gravy was deep and rich in both color and flavor. The greens were smoky and tender even though they had more stems than I have seen in other places. The sweet potatoes were bland not having soaked up the cinnamon spiced syrup they floated in. A square of sweet cornbread (my favorite) and nice piece of German Chocolate sheet cake completed the meal, thoroughly delicious. I had high hopes
The next meal here was Garfish Stew. A huge garfish steak at least an inch thick cooked to total succulence. I grew up on gar and to tell you the truth this is the best gar I have had in 35 years, as good as my momma's. And that is saying a lot. The greens beans were good. The chicken, sausage, and okra I got as a side was a little thin but it was usually sold as main course with rice. It contained lots of protein with some okra in a spicy tomato based sauce, quite tasty. The gar was tender, white, and moist with fresh fish taste. If you have never had gar I really can not explain it. Gar is the reason I like fish with flavor with Cobia and Char being my favorite.
Last time round was smothered pork chops. To tell you truth this is my bellwether for places like this. If they can do a chop right then they can do anything. Again the meat was plastic fork tender which goes beyond fork tender. I virtually could not spear it with the fork, as it would break up. That same dark rich gravy with lots of flavor and the meat was pretty good also. They both lay over some rice cooked the way it should be. Again I went with greens and sweet potatoes. The greens were great as usual and the sweet potatoes improved over the last time. Tender with sweet syrup that flavored the inside of the chunks this time. Again the sweet cornbread to sop up the greens liquor. A satisfying meal containing some backbone to it. I heartily and enthusiastically recommend this plate lunch place. I think they will be doing some short order stuff in the future. If so I will report it to you.

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