Last night, curiosity got the better of an aspiring chowbud and me as we sought our culinary bliss at 1st and Elm in downtown LBC. I ordered the 4x4 special with the green beans and spicy rice, the beans being the better with an unexpected kick of spice. The four hush puppies served with the plate were among the best I've yet had, a very crunchy coating hiding the savory dough. The fish pieces (I chose catfish) and shrimp were judiciously coated in a flavorful batter whose non-oily texture seemed to have been perfected by years of practice. I mixed copious amounts of the house tartar and red sauces for dunking these tender morsels, but they were flavorful enough standing on their own. I am very lucky to have a two-week apartment-sitting stint coming up next week just a few blocks from Al's, and plan to become familiar with more of their menu offerings. Thanks again to Youndo, Heather, and all the other hounds who sang the praises of this down-home temple o' fish. I'm now a member of the choir, singing the gospels of fried seafood to any hounds listening.