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Restaurants & Bars 12

hard knox disappointment

ed | Sep 27, 2004 03:04 PM

finally made it over for lunch friday, and with great anticipation ordered oxtails, red beans and rice, and collard greens. i didn't realize until today that curtis ordered the exact same platter.

well, parts of the oxtails were actually a little dry, and not infused with as much flavor as my mom's version. they were lightly dressed with a brown sauce, which i think finds its way onto quite a few of their dishes. i couldn't help thinking that if the oxtails were made 'right' any additional sauce would be redundant.

the rbr was a little thin and bland. lacked the meaty flavor and richness that i look for. perhaps this is prepared to be vegetarian friendly. if so, my advice is - this is supposed to be texan soul food, dammit!

the collard greens were the worst. again, i probably shouldn't, but i compared this to my mom's brasilian version, which is tender but lively, lightly seasoned yet tasty. these were soggy and limp in comparison.

finally, nothing on my plate came out particularly hot, even though this was primetime lunch hour.

my friend had fried chicken, mac n cheese, and mixed veggies. these homemade sides weren't bad, but weren't stunning either. the fried chicken was served very hot, and was the only real standout.

the lemonade was very freshly made, but too southern (sweet) for my taste.

overall notes:

the place is nicely decorated. urban grunge, southern diner, and chinese buddha influences all somehow work here in the dogpatch. tony did not come out to say hi, but his wife (the server) was very friendly.

the place is small, and given the less than overwhelming level of patronage, i feel they have extended themselves a bit beyond the envelope of sustainable quality. frankly, the menu is perhaps too long, and i imagine there are too many pots simmering for too long back in the kitchen there.

i'd suggest a pared down list of their strongest dishes and customer's faves, and then rotating daily specials. basically, stick to their roots, and not try to be all things texan to all folks northern californian.

i live in the neighborhood, and i really hope this place succeeds.

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