Spurred by the recent barbecue discussion, and on my way down south for an evening at the Checkerboard, I went last night to Lem's to satisfy my cravings. Much to my chagrin, I discovered that Lem's has burned down. The building is still there, but completely shut up, with signs that read, "Closed due to Fire, Will reopen soon". A great loss. Here's hoping that they are able to get up and running soon, and that the newly constructed pit won't change the quality of the barbecue.
The night was not a total loss. Dejected, we went to Army and Lou's instead, a soul food joint a block further east on 75th St. While not everything on the menu is brilliant, they do an incredible fried catfish (fillets or steaks). The crust is very crisp, impeccable fried, and the fish is just cooked, with no tough spots, or uncomfortably slimy spots. My friend had a pork chop, one smothered, one fried, which were good, but not exquisite. I've had the short ribs there before, and been a little disappointed. And the sides were not great--my spinach was OK, and the navy bean ham soup was fine, but the cornbread stuffing left a lot to be desired. Anyone else know about other superlative items on Army and Lou's menu?