Bear with me, friends. I normally dont review restaurants on Chowhounds and have enjoyed many a wonderful meal due to the descriptions of many of the "Regulars" whove offered their impressions of our areas (San Diego's bill o fare. Time to give back!
While jonesing for some stick to your ribs, long-slow cooked, holiday type cuisine I was lucky enough to find a review by Chilepm about Magnolias. Now I hadnt seen the Naomi Wise review, but from personal experience we know that most recommendations that come from the learned eaters on the California (San Diego) board are closer to our taste than Ms. Wise does and so with hungry hearts, our merry band of 4 headed off to Euclid and Market.
We were seated promptly, for a restaurant that's not advertising and still on a soft opening it was half filled this chilly thursday evening, with wonderful jazz, blues, R&B and rock music wafting in the background and began the daunting task of finding a dish from so many favorites on the menu. My friend chose the grilled catfish, both our husbands selected the smothered chicken and I decided on the fried chicken breasts since I hadnt had them since Bessies Garret was open. Instead of appetizers we chose all the lagniappes to nibble at while devouring dinner. As Chilepm advised us, the cornbread was the same tasty morsels from the past with room temperature butter on the side. Those were inhaled and another plate was on the table before we even had the chance to ask for more.
I have it on good authority that the catfish was impressive. Not dry or oily with a very fresh flavor. The smothered chicken was tasty and stewed perfectly without a trace of greasiness and the sauce was magnificent. My fried chicken breast were moist, no greasiness, perfectly seasoned and delightfully plump. (It made a great chicken burrito the next day) KFC would go bankrupt if this lady opens her own fast food chicken restaurant.
The lagniappes were a hit at our table. The collard greens tasted like they were just picked. The candied yams werent a pudding, but had a nice solid center surrounded by a nice candied sauce. The dirty rice and black-eyed peas were devoured in no time. The cornbread stuffing was more like a polenta soufflé of goodness. The fried okra was like little puffs of okra, no sliminess. I missed out on the red beans and hush puppies due to being consumed in fried chicken heaven.
Our waitress, though working many tables, kept our glasses full and our cornbread plate wasnt without company all evening. The ladies at our table settled on the peach cobbler and were very happy with both the taste and presentation. The men enjoyed slabs of almond encrusted bread pudding with a nice hard sauce ladled over it with little dabs of whipped cream on board. A perfect ending to a much anticipated meal.
With tax and tip and not including alcohol, the bill was under $110, and we generously tipped due to the amount of attention our server gave our table. As we were having our coffee, Charles Johnson graced our table with his thanks for our patronage, gave a brief synopsis of where they wanted to take the restaurant and asked for suggestions. The only thing I would change would be the lighting. A bit of softening would be nice and a brunch on Sunday would be an instant hit in this neighborhood. The only thing missing was some good chicory coffee and a few beignets, I mentioned it to Mr. Johnson, well see if it ends up on the menu in the future.
And Chilepm, you were right. There was a meeting in the kitchen in both houses after midnight that night!
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