I've been here for two weeks now and done a lot of exploring. I was pretty active on the Los Angeles Chowhound board, so I'll try to keep that up here in my new home (Clarksdale.) Some of these impressions will be obvious to those of you who live here, but hopefully they might prove useful to visitors. I've also been having most of these meals alone, so I haven't been able to try as many different things as I'd like. To prevent this from becoming too long, they will be brief.
Mr. Chen's was surprisingly good for Chinese lunch. I had xiao long bao (juicy pork dumplings, soup dumplings, called "small steam bun" on the menu) which were good, though not excellent. About half of them had soup in them - which is good - and half didn't. The wrappers were good and the filling was tasty. I also had pea shoots (dao miu) which were perfectly cooked, fresh and delicious. The Asian market in which the restaurant is found, is also very good, very reasonably priced, and surprising to me in Jackson. mrchens.chinesemenu.com
The Mayflower was excellent, basic Gulf & local seafood, simply and nicely prepared. I had the grouper, one of the two blackboard specials of the night. http://www.mayflowercafems.com/
Lusco's was great for dinner. My friend had the grilled pompano for which they are justifiably famous. I had redfish which was every bit as good and differently cooked. The broiled shrimp were very fresh gulf shrimp, but not all that interesting. The place itself is fantastic and interesting. http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Ov...
Delta Bistro was a great, light lunch. Blackeye pea cakes are sort of a Southern falafel and were superb with Comeback dressing. The fried chicken sliders were simple - they could have maybe used a little cole slaw or something - but also very good. http://deltabistro.com/
Doe's Eat Place - what can I possibly say that hasn't been said. This is my very favorite steak house on the planet for the quality of the steak and its cooking as well as the atmosphere. (At least the Greenville location. I'm not as crazy about the Little Rock branch.) The fries are perfect. The broiled shrimp are also superb. The salad, overdressed and icebergian, somehow is perfect. There's beer, but if you want wine, bring your own. http://www.doeseatplace.com/
McCarty's is a famous pottery studio - some of its work is in museum collections around the world, including Japan where pottery is taken very very seriously. They also have lunch in their gallery, served on their pottery. It is a beautiful, elegant place with a nice outdoor dining area as well as the indoor restaurant. White table cloths, great service, limited menu but made from locally sourced ingredients. The day I was there, there was an excellent vegetable soup, then a plate with chicken salad, stewed Merigold tomatoes and a cold green bean salad. It was all delicious. http://www.mccartyspottery.com/galler...
Yazoo Pass has really upped the food game in Clarksdale. Great, fresh soups, sandwiches and salad bar, as well as excellent dinner entrees. I had some of the best fish tacos I have ever had anywhere there - grilled redfish. I've had great gazpacho and one of the better pozoles I have had anywhere. There was a simple grilled tuna salad that was superb. Very garlicky seafood angelhair pasta is very tasty. They have very good espresso and other coffee drinks. Beer only, so bring your own wine if you want it with dinner. I only wish the bakery made enough bread to sell loaves. http://yazoopass.com/
Stone Pony is a long time downtown staple. It's good, some of its items verge on being great - Boston Pops (?) which are delicious marinated, bbq porkloinsicles. It's dependable and has a full drinks license and is open when a lot of other places around town aren't. http://www.stoneponypizza.com/
Atzimba Mexican Restaurant is better than I would have expected in Clarksdale. Huevos rancheros are pretty good - though unless you want your eggs cooked hard, ask for them runny. They have a very good spicy hot sauce that you have to ask special for. The sauce they bring you is tasty, but doesn't have much heat to it. Mixing the two works pretty well. The chile verde is good. The tortillas are all thick, not very fresh, flour tortillas - which is, I think, a shortcoming. (Good corn tortillas are not easy to come by around here.) 706 S State St,
Abe's BBQ is Clarksdale's famous bbq place at the crossroads (of Highways 61 and 49.) Nice scene, nice people, the sauce is good. For my money the thing to order is the pulled pork sandwich. I get the excellent cole slaw - very tangy, no mayo, just the way I like cole slaw - on the side. http://www.abesbbq.com/
I don't know what got into me but I was craving Chinese food. Looking on my phone I found the Big Bowl Asian Bistro that seems to get good reviews. Well, it isn't repulsive, but I sure won't be going there again. Nothing had much flavor, it was all overcooked and glutinous. It also makes the mistake that a lot of Asian restaurants make in places where there aren't a lot of them - it tries to do too much. It tries to be too many types of Asian restaurant to too many people and fails to do a particularly good job. I am looking forward to going back to Oxford and trying more local cuisine - City Grocery, for instance.