Twice a day going to and from work we pass Soul Fish. Pretty much twice a day we say we need to try it. We finally tried Taco Loco and it instantly became our favorite Mexican place. Well, we finally tried Soul Fish, and it turned out to be pretty darn good too.
Mama Squirrel and I decided to go while Squirrelly, Jr., was out partying on a Friday night. Showing up at a restaurant at 7:30 on a Friday night is usually only good for testing one’s patience. Sure enough, Soul Fish was packed when we got there. They were turning the tables nicely though and we had barely had time to take in the funky art on the walls before we were seated. Now we have been several times, and every trip has involved little or no wait.
I knew right away that we would like the place. While many places serve their beverages in Coke glasses, at Soul Fish our sweet tea came out in Lipton glasses.
Catfish is the big draw at Soul Fish, and they do it right. We pride ourselves on not only hitting a lot of good catfish places but on making darn fine catfish at home. Soul Fish makes nice firm fish with a light, crispy crust. The hush puppies are good. They are so dark that they look burned, but they are moist and tasty.
The po’ boys are also a winner. The menu promises New Orleans style rolls, and again, they do a darn good job. They don’t quite reach that light-chewy-crispy-fluffy perfection of New Orleans bread, but the rolls are tasty and nicely substantial.
We haven’t tried the more straightforward chicken and catfish po boys. We have had the Cuban and the Memphis. My favorite is the Cuban. The traditional smoked pork tenderloin, ham, Swiss, pickles, and mustard are served standing out on one of those nice rolls rather than pressed on Cuban bread. There is a reason that the Cuban sandwich is close to being the perfect food form. This presentation does it justice.
Teh Boy’s favorite is the Memphis po’ boy. This one is a re-imagined barbecue sandwich. Slices of pork tenderloin and bacon are topped with slaw and a nice, simple sauce. For me, it is a little dry and lacking in the through-and-through smokiness of a slow-smoked shoulder. Teh Boy is right though. It’s still a pretty nice sandwich.
There are other great dinner choices. I fulfill my Henry VIII fantasies with the smoked half chicken. The chicken gets nice flavor from the smoke. I have also tried the blackened catfish Caesar salad. I loved the blackened catfish and would gladly have it again. I loved the Caesar too. But there was something about the juxtaposition that threw me off. I think it was a your-chocolate-in-my-peanut-butter kind of thing. I was worried about the clash of creamy dressing and spicy rub. It worked pretty well though.
I have been questing for good veggies lately. I have resigned myself to the fact that I like my mashed potatoes saltier than the entire rest of the world does. Nevertheless, Soul Fish makes nice mashed potatoes. Their black-eyed peas are good; the substantial slices of sauteed zucchini, excellent. The cornbread is top notch.
The two dessert choices have been good for the most part. It is hard to mess up a root beer float. It is big fun to share one. The caramel pecan pie tends to come out surface-of-the-sun hot, but it is delicious. Getting it a la mode takes the edge off a bit, but you still have to mind your tongue. We did get the pie one day when it was only average, but we will still order it next time.
I am very glad we finally went to Soul Fish. I wish we hadn’t waited so long. You shouldn’t wait, except for a table. Once you’re there, the wait is worth it.
862 S Cooper Street
Memphis, TN 38104