Dave’s View: I had a preconception about Kountry Kitchen on North College in Indianapolis. What did I hear before going to Kountry Kitchen?
“Don’t go there during Sunday services.”
We arrived around ten o’clock in the morning and we were greeted with so much admiration I felt embarrassed by my own bias opinion. You see, I’m a white male going into a predominantly black restaurant. My preconceived notion about the place wasn’t based on prejudice. It was based on respect. A white patron coming in during Sunday services, I felt I didn’t want to intrude on anybody. That’s why we came at ten o’clock in the morning.
But I want to tell you something. If we arrived at noon that day, we would have received the same loving reception we got at ten o’clock. I could have walked in with green skin, three eyes, and no limbs and they would have rolled out the red carpet for me, because you know why? Because they don’t care. They don’t care where you came from. They are cooking food for your soul. As long as you are hungry, you’re getting fed and when you leave this place, your belly will be full, but you’ll also have a slight twinkle in your heart. Yeah, I said, “twinkle.”
The restaurant is larger inside from what it looks like from the outside. There is a bar area at the entrance followed by two gigantic rooms filled with wooden chairs with red patterned table cloths. The atmosphere is laid back and very calming. But then something changed. Our server came out with so much energy, it made my hangover that I had that day go away in ten minutes. It was such a positive experience.
The meal I had: Fried Catfish fillets with black-eyed peas, fried corn bread, and mustard greens were all fantastic. Eating Catfish at ten o’clock in the morning you may ask? I had a hangover. It hit the spot. Plus, they didn’t care. It was Catfish for my soul. The Catfish was tender and fried perfectly. The mustard greens were tart and earthy and blended well with the black-eyed peas. The fried corn bread after taking a bite, would flake inside your mouth and disperse quickly to give a nice buttery corn taste on your palate. The nasty beer burps from the night before were in retreat. No hangover. I felt like a new man.
So whatever shape you’re in, if you are beaten, fat, small, desperate, full of love, depressed, have odd tattoos on your arms, drink too much, garden too much, overly political, bite your fingernails, have a third nipple, drive too fast, walk too slow, like to talk about giraffes, clean your kitchen every other day, talk loud, or you are (in your mind) normal, Kountry Kitchen will open their arms and cure your insecurities.
Service: 9.5 Food: 9.25 Ambiance: 8 Total: 26.75 out of 30
$10-$15 without adult beverages. They do not serve adult beverages. For once, I’m glad they didn’t.
Andrea’s View: As you know, Dave and I started this blog to highlight ethnic cuisine in our city. I do not want to imply that soul food/southern cuisine is “ethnic.” Soul food is American food, plain, simple, and delicious. That being said, Kountry Kitchen is that rare jewel in this city that a good portion of the population has simply driven past, and it should not be ignored.
Kountry Kitchen is hands down one of the best food/dining experiences in this city. As soon as you walk in the door, the staff figuratively hugs you “hello” and welcomes you into their home. They greet you with terms such as “sugar, sweetie, honey” and not in a condescending manner, but in a “aren’t you a sight for sore eyes” auntie kind of way.
The service here is impeccable. Ask any question about the menu and they will answer honestly. They also offer dishes not named on the menu, not to mention their personal favorites and those that they think you might like.
I ordered the cubed steak with collard greens, black-eyed peas, and corn bread. I have not had cubed steak since I was a kid, and no offense Mom, it was the best cubed steak ever. I dove head first into my bowl of collard greens and did not come up for air, and my black-eyed peas were perfect. Don’t even ask me about the corn bread. I devoured my plate of food and washed it all down with a mason jar of sweet tea.
Make no mistake, this restaurant and its employees do not care what race, religion, or creed its patrons are. They only want to serve the best soul food with all the love they can muster. If you leave this restaurant hungry, that is your fault. If you drive past this restaurant and don’t go in, well, that’s your fault too.