There’s No Soul In This Kitchen

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Andrea’s View:  I cannot express to you how excited I was when I discovered the opening of a soul food restaurant right here in Fishers.  Imagine, you could get collard greens, black-eyed peas, and cornbread any time you wanted without having to drive and park downtown Indianapolis.  I asked and begged Dave a dozen times to visit Southern Kitchen before we visited last week.  I would even say, “Hey, there’s that soul food restaurant” as we would drive past it on 96th Street.  I was so pumped when we finally went in for an early dinner.

And then I was so disappointed.  When you enter, no one says hello.  There is a big wall menu above a buffet line filled with silver trays but it appears that no food is in them as they are covered with silver lids.  There is no signage saying where to order or if you should sit down.  Even though there were five to six employees standing behind the buffet line, no one offered any direction, only stares.  Dave finally asked, “Do we order here,” and the female employee answered, “Yeah.”  I ordered the fried pork chop, collard greens, and mashed potatoes.  They do not have black-eyed peas.  How can you not have black-eyed peas in a southern/soul food restaurant?  But that’s actually the least of their problems.  After ordering, there was more awkward standing and staring by both Dave and I and the employees.  Finally someone said that someone would take care of me at the cash register.  That someone turned out to be a twelve-year-old who did his own version of standing and staring.  I felt as if I should apologize for bothering all of them by walking into their restaurant.  It gave me weird vibes.

Our food arrived at our table after we were told that they would call our number, and more confusion occurred when our ticket numbers didn’t match the kitchen’s ticket numbers.  It should not have been a big deal, Dave and I were the only ones in the dining room.  Anyway, what I ended up with was a very dry, but fall off the bone, pork chop, some left out too long mashed potatoes with no gravy, and some really awesome collard greens.  Really, the collard greens were amazing.  The rest of the food was over cooked and not fresh.  It seemed as if it had been cooked in the morning and then was allowed to sit in a heating tray for seven hours.

So all in all, there still is no soul food restaurant in Fishers.  This place lacks the love, caring, and attention to detail that all soul food restaurants possess.  I mean really guys, why bother.

Dave’s View:  We both walk into Southern Kitchen restaurant and there is one couple eating fried chicken in a corner.  The rest of the place is empty except for six employees standing behind a cafeteria style plexiglass shield.  All of them see us, but not one of them welcomes us there.  You see, I’m easy when it comes to service.  I don’t expect the red carpet treatment.  I don’t expect smiles, I just want to be acknowledged.  The sound of crickets permeates the restaurant for over three minutes until one of the employees speaks up.  Do we sit down or do we order at the counter?  There is no “Order Here” sign and then add in  the lack of attention from the restaurant staff, you have what we call, a disaster in the making.

I ordered the Southern Fried Chicken dinner with corn and greens.  I knew the second it came out, it wasn’t going to be a sterling Southern soul food experience.  Why?  Dryness!  The chicken is spicy from the red pepper flakes in the batter, but it was so overcooked from being under heats lamps all day, it lost its taste.  Why doesn’t the restaurant fry the chicken when you order it?  It’s a simple process and would take five to ten minutes to do?  It’s not called Fried, Heat Lamped, Chicken.  It’s called Southern Fried Chicken!  The same thing with the corn.  How can you mess up corn?  Well, I’ll tell you.  You first prepare the corn in the morning and let it sit in a tray surrounded by the plexiglass shield in the cafeteria area in which they call their kitchen. Then let it sit there until you see the corn get all pruny like your fingertips get after a long shower.  By this time your corn will be so dry,  that maybe by the time it hits your plate it would turn into popcorn.   Now the greens on the other hand, were the only item on the plate that had any redeeming qualities.  Why?  Because it loves the tray surrounded by plexiglass shield.  It can sit there all day soaking up the heat lamp.  It was like fine wine, as it ages, it will only get better.  It was tender and had plenty of earthy taste to the leaves.

Inside the restaurant, the air conditioner was turned off and they had their ceiling fans going, probably to save money, but I was sweating badly.  As I gazed across the dining room, I see this picture.

Mama

Mama

I’m thinking to myself, “Has Mama tried any of her food served today?”  Or is she dead?   Because if she is, she’s going to be one angry Mama!  If you go to their website, they have a slogan:   “Food so good, it’ll make you wanna to slap somebody!”  Really?  If Mama is alive, she should be slapping her own staff, but not for the reason of good food.  The food here needs to be prepared on the spot and the service needs to be friendly and attentive or the restaurant will be like a  sinking ship.  The water is filling up the ship and right now this ship is listing badly.

Service:  3  Food:  3  Ambiance:  8 (I don’t get the Bounty Hunter Fathead, if you do, let me know.)  Total:  14 out of 30

$20-$30 without adult beverages.  They do not serve adult beverages.

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6 responses »

  1. I hate awkwardness in a restaurant. You guys should try out “His Place” for some yummy soul food and friendlier service. The corn is a must get. Also the chicken, collard greens, and pretty much everything else we tried was delish!

    Also, glad to see you posting again! Please keep up the adventures :)

  2. I went to this place a few weeks ago and had the exact same experience. Staff had no clue what to do. There were about 8 people in line and it took 20 minutes to get through line and precooked food. The staff were so incompetent and slow. My buddy and I were really close to coming behind the counter, taking orders, running the register and serving food. Staff was horrible and useless. Food was a close second in those catergories as well. Very sad on both ends, but 6 staff standing around doing nothing is a joke.

  3. Visited the restaurant this evening with my daughter as they were closing. The owner was nice enough to re-open, fire up the fryer and prepare a catfish and perch dinner with macaroni and cheese and corn. It was a very cold evening and I didn’t feel much like cooking and stumbled on the restaurant. The staff was very friendly, the restaurant very clean and inviting and the food absolutely delicious. The kool-aid beverage brought back memories from my childhood. Thank you for the pleasant conversation while we waited and for being so thoughtful to re-open for us. This is a new business in Fishers offering an alternative to all of the fast food restaurants in the area- good home cooking. I pray that it will thrive for many years to come. We will definitely visit again.

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