i swung by nellie's in oakland on a saturday afternoon about three weeks ago. coming from the gym, i figured i had a calorie deficit that needed fixing. perfect to try out some stuff at nellie's. i drove to the spot and took in the semi-industrial/office surroundings under the freeway. seemed promising from the looks of it; plain, converted office space in a non-trendy location. when i walked in it was busy but not packed, only 2 caucasian folks in there but mostly african american families and small tables; another positive sign. menu looked good and short - not trying to make a zillion things beyond their capacity.
i ended up ordering a fried chicken half with sides of collard greens and rice & gravy as my first order, and for the second order i had the cajun spaghetti with sides of green beans and mashed potatoes.
the fried chicken was not horrible, but very underwhelming - the crust was a bit similar to kfc original, slightly bready, not shattery crisp. i'll try it again, but i'd probably pick popeye's chicken if i had to choose b/w the two. the meat was okay, not dry, but not super juicy either. the flavor was clean but not anything special. the cajun spaghetti was pretty mediocre. the pasta was generic "golden grain"-type spaghetti noodles cooked a bit too much past al dente for me, but at least it wasn't disintegratingly mushy. the tomato-base sauce with various seafood was blandish and rather boring, seafood was slightly overcooked.
sides: the rice and gravy was bland and not salted enough. the collards were nice, not overcooked they still had some tooth to them. the green beans were the one thing that i felt were good to pretty good. mashed potatoes were a bit below par, it seemed like they didn't use any butter or milk/cream to lubricate, so it was a dense heavy paste, like an unfluffed baked potato without the skin.
oh well, i will go back to try the neck bone, chitlins, mac n cheese, pork chops, and another shot at the chicken, but so far it doesn't seem too impressive. it makes me want to go swing by LA to wash it down with some m&m. any thoughts on things that they do make well at nellie's?