Not Yo Mama's Chicken And Waffles
Let me just start by saying chicken and waffles is probably one of my favorite dishes. I have been searching for a really good dish that is savory and full of flavor but also has a great composition factor. Could I have found a dish to satisfy everything I am looking for?
I stumbled upon Not Watson's in Market Square as I was taking a stroll, searching for something unusual. The name was very odd. I thought "Who is Watson and what has he done to this restaurant?" I decided to go in and check them out. The hostess was very polite and took me to my seat. I sat at table number one. I know this because they have giant numbers on each of the tables. That décor I didn't care for but, for the most part, the restaurant itself had a very nice feel. It was the kind of place that made you feel like you didn't know if you should be there, but had no reason to leave.
My waitress was very polite as well. She got my drink and then returned to take my food order. What could I get off of this enticing menu. Then I see it. Chicken and Waffles! Served with spiced watermelon? What is spiced watermelon? I had to try it.
When my food come out, I was definitely impressed by the amount of chicken and waffles I received. As promised, spiced watermelon came on the side and a bourbon maple glaze to top everything off. My first bite was of the watermelon. I couldn't resist. It was a satisfying disappointment. The spices had little to no flavor and so I was left with a very delicious piece of watermelon. The real star of this dish was the chicken and waffles. I took my first bite of juicy chicken and savory waffle topped with a delicious bourbon glaze and I felt like I had traveled into another world in which food was the only thing that mattered. Not just any food but this food. This chicken and waffle. This amazing dish that was causing me to have a food experience like I have never known. I thought I may be in love.
The honeymoon fell short, however, when my glass remained empty for a long period of time and I was found with no way to quench the spices that were now tingling my mouth. Finally I did obtain more to drink and I was quite satisfied.
As for the name of the restaurant, you will have to go and ask them what it means. As far as the overall experience, I can tell you its definitely worth stopping in. For a lovely greeting, an empty glass, and a dish that you will not soon forget, I am giving Not Watson's a picky 4.7 out of 5.
This time I travel to a local favorite, Calhoun's, on Bearden Hill. As I walked in, I was greeted by a very nice hostess. This was such a pleasurable change to the recent hostess encounters I have experienced in this town. Looking around, I noticed what seemed to be a brewery in middle of the restaurant. The rest of the décor was standard and unimpressive.
My waitress came by and took my drink order. She seemed nice as well and so far I was pleased to be in this establishment. My drink came quickly and it was time to order. Not knowing what to get, I decided to try a bit of everything and chose the Calhoun's trio. It came with chicken strips, hickory smoked pork, and baby back ribs. It also came with slaw. Now Picky Nation you know I don't eat white food as a rule. So I opted to get double fries.
The food finally came. If you have ever stood in line for an hour for a roller coaster that was just ok then you know exactly how I felt. The fries were nothing to write home about. The chicken strips were good. The best part about the chicken was that the flavor was very unique. The ribs were great. Great flavor and the meat did fall off the bone for me. (I eat ribs with a knife and fork.) Where the fall came was with the smoked pork. It was dry. It had a good flavor but still very dry.
Overall the experience was great. The food had its high and low points. I suppose that is exactly why I got the sampler. My next visit will be more educated and I am sure I will enjoy it a little more. Still, this restaurant gave me a fine experience and for that they are getting a picky 4.0 out of 5.
Chicken And Cashews
At the end of my meal, I was in disbelief. But we will get there soon enough. Yes Picky Nation, I have found another exciting place to dine. I had driven passed this place several times and never stopped. Today intrigue got the better of me and I had to go see Chef Ben!
It is located in a store front building. From the outside, I could not tell if this was a buffet, fine dining, or just a small place to dine in a hurry. Trust me, I was praying that it was not a buffet. As I walked through the door, I was relieved to find that there was no buffet to be seen. Then another anxiety came upon me as I noticed I was in a room about the size of my living space.
I was greeted by a very friendly woman and was instructed to have a seat anywhere. It wasn't a hard choice so I chose a booth and sat down. The server came over promptly and quickly retrieved my drink. As I looked over the menu, I noticed it was a large menu. The menu itself was worrisome. It was worn and tattered. Some pages stuck together as if it was hiding a well-kept secret. I finally saw a probable choice. The chicken and cashews sounded simple enough.
When the server came to take my order, I asked her what came with the chicken and cashews. As she began to spout off vegetables, I stopped listening for vegetables and started listening for silence. When she was through I asked her if I could have no vegetables. She looked at me strange and then confirmed the order.
As time passed, I could here the cooking of the food. It let me know that this food would be fresh and perhaps not sitting in some sort of bucket as some restaurants do. I did not wait long and my food had arrived. I was pleased to see the dish came just as I wanted. Chicken, cashews, and white rice. I took my first bite and I was over the moon. The chicken was not the standard teriyaki. It was sweet but it had a crisp. It was well cooked and the flavor was great. The cashews added a certain dynamic to it. Once I put the rice with the chicken, it was an amazing dish. A picky eater's dream. I was in disbelief!
From start to finish, this tiny restaurant was full of big surprises. The food was delicious. Something I will be looking forward to coming back to. For friendly service, delicious food, and a price that won't break the bank, I give Chef Ben a picky 4.2 out of 5.
Chicken, Short ribs, Catfish
When I go to a place like this, I make sure not to get caught up in the fan fare. People get caught up in the feeling of being on vacation and eating at a restaurant with a famous cook's name on the building. That being said, here is my experience.
If you want a seat quickly, you need to participate in the call ahead seating. When I called, the hostess informed me they have call ahead seating up to an hour before, so I had to call back. When I arrived, I waited in line and told the hostess about the call ahead arrangement. I was seated within seven minutes. As I sat down, I noticed the tables were very large, and being my first time, thought it to be uninviting.
The waiter came by and took my drink order. I had the lemonade, as I was told it was freshly made. I also informed him it was my first time eating there. He was very nice. As I received my lemonade, I took my first drink, hoping to find that fresh, sugary, tartness in a refreshing swig. What I found was something that resembled a Kool-Aid mixture.
I was informed to pick 3 meats and 4 sides. I chose chicken, short ribs, catfish, greens, mac and cheese, candied yams, and green beans. I tried to order the pork with the gravy on the side. That was a no. I assume they cook a whole lot of it in a pan and wouldn't make it happen for me. When the food came, the portions were as if I had ordered a kids meal. I sat there thinking I would have to hit up a fast food joint afterward. Finally the waiter informed me it was an all you can eat format.
Great! I have just stumbled on to the most expensive buffet I had ever been. The only difference is the server brings more food. Let me save you some time and tell you the food was just a step above a buffet. My final analysis is that it was good, but not worth the wait. The good news for families is children eat for free at age 5 and under. To summarize, the food was good, not great, service was great, the wait is long, and its all you can eat. However if you want something special, you will not get it. For that reason, I have to give Paula a score of 3.8 out of 5.
Grilled Barbecue Chicken With Sirloin Steak
As I walked in the door, I was surprised to see that I did not have to wait for a table. I was taken directly to my table and told the server would be with me in just a minute. As promised the server was with me right away. I noticed on the menu they serve Hi-C. Call me a child if you want to but I was quick to order it. I find it offers a variety of fruit flavor with your meal, without the alcohol normally served in fruity drinks at these types of establishments.
I found the server trying very hard to be very professional. The back of his shirt said "I love my job!" and, for once, I believed that shirt. He was suggestive and respectful. He came to take my order and this is the order I gave. I wanted the barbecue chicken with the sirloin cooked medium, fries, and a baked potato.... on its own plate. Yes picky nation I enjoy a juicy steak, but I had the juice to run onto the potato and vice versa on the butter from the potato. As you can see pictured above, he got it correct! What a pleasant surprise.
How was the food you ask? The steak was cooked perfectly. The chicken could have been a little more juicy, but it was good. The fries were steak fries. Finally the potato was just great as well. I had a wonderful experience at this establishment. From service to tastiness, they had it all! For picky friendliness and a lover of service, I have no choice but to give this experience a picky friendly 4.6 out of 5.
We all know mall food isn't going to be the most excellent cuisine, however, every now and then you can find a surprise. As I walked up to the counter I found a stern-faced woman glaring at me. I gave her my order. I wanted the teriyaki chicken, double the meat (don't judge), no vegetables, and white rice. She gave me the total and I paid. I did not experience much in the way of friendliness but I gave the benefit of the doubt due to a possible language barrier.
As my tray come down the line I observed that I did receive white rice, but did not receive double meat. I didn't see this a huge deal because it didn't look like I was charged for it. The meat was a little more dry then I would prefer, but the sauce helped with that. The rice was sticky in parts probably due to sitting in a pot for a while. It sounds simple enough. Chicken and rice with teriyaki sauce all over it. I have to say this meal is the picky eater's dream. Sarku seems to keep the vegetables and the meat on separate sides of the grill. I didn't sense and straggling vegies. What you see is what you get. Oh and did I mention it is delicious. Is it high quality? No. Will I keep coming back? Again and again.
Call it a guilty pleasure if you want, but once you visit, that food will continue to call your name and you will continue to pick up that phone. For picky friendliness, and service, I give this overall experience a good picky score of 3.5 out of 5.