+
jillyju | Sep 12, 200810:02 PM     9

Earlier this week I saw a brief article describing a new soul food restaurant in East Oakland: http://www.insidebayarea.com/timessta.... Tonight we headed down MacArthur Blvd. to A Soul Food Experience, and enjoyed a very promising meal. I’m excited to go back and check out some other things on the menu, and wanted to get a quick post up about this new find.

I ordered the fried chicken dinner ($13.95, I think), which was four pieces of piping hot, freshly fried chicken, all of which were moist and juicy with a crisp coating. Loved it. I won’t say it’s the best I ever had, but it was extremely good. The chicken came with two sides, plus cornbread. For my sides I got mac and cheese and candied yams. The mac and cheese also tasted very fresh, although I found the flavors a bit unusual. It had a lot of paprika on the top, and then a mildly sweet taste throughout. On my last bite I had the thought that it reminded me of noodle kugel, for those who are familiar with that wonderful, comforting Jewish dish. How a cheddar cheese-based food could remind me of kugel, I don’t really know. My other side, the candied yams, were achingly sweet, which the dining compatriot thought were just right and I thought were skippable. He grew up with this food though, whereas I only came to it as an adult. The cornbread was a bit dry but fine.

My dining compatriot had the wing dinner (10.95), which consisted of 4 chicken wings fried the same way as my chicken. For his sides he chose black-eyed peas, which came in a luscious cooking broth, chock full of meat (which was either ham hock, if you ask him, or oxtail, if you ask me); and cabbage, which came with plentiful pieces of bacon and a healthy portion of black pepper. It was savory and delicious. As a favor, the waiter brought him some stewed okra as well, which was also a hit. My compatriot piled his peas in their broth on top of the corn bread and was happy as could be. With a few dashes of hot sauce, the whole mess was declared a success.

Other sides available included rice with gravy, green beans, peas, mashed potatoes? (not sure I’m remembering correctly), and one or two others. There are nightly specials as well, with tonights being turkey wings, which looked great when they arrived at the table next to ours. The other dinner mains include smothered steak, fried fish, and barbeque. I did not see anyone eating the barbeque, however. On Sundays they have a buffet from 11am-6pm, which includes some main dishes, all their sides, and desserts. We had no room for dessert tonight, but they had red velvet cake and apple pie available.

All in all, this was a great find. The space is very pleasant, with lots of windows and light. There were a lot of staff on the floor, and everyone was very helpful and friendly. Although the menu warned that my chicken would take at least 20 minutes to cook since it is made to order, our waiter apologized for the wait. Our “fresh” lemonade was regularly refilled (Country Time brand, we both thought), and there was Kool Aid and Sweet Tea on the menu too.

There’s a security person at the front door, which I presume is part of the owner’s effort to make the place as inviting as possible. I know that for some folks the neighborhood might seem far away or even scary, but in fact it is pretty mellow there, and lots of families were at tables eating as well as getting food to go.

A great new addition to my neighborhood!

-----
A Soul Food Experience
10739 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland, CA 94605

Want to stay up to date with this post? Sign Up Now ›

More from Chowhound

How to Stick to Healthy Eating Resolutions for the New Year
Guides

How to Stick to Healthy Eating Resolutions for the New Year

by Brianne Garrett | New year, new me. It’s a popular mantra that we all tell ourselves going into a new year—vowing that...

5 Plant-Based Swaps for the Carbs You Crave
Guides

5 Plant-Based Swaps for the Carbs You Crave

by Gretchen Lidicker | Trying to cut carbohydrates? There are plenty of great plant-based substitutes for your favorite carbs...

13 Easy Ingredient Swaps for Healthier Cooking
Guides

13 Easy Ingredient Swaps for Healthier Cooking

by Dan McKay and Jen Wheeler | These easy, healthy ingredient swaps are proof that eating healthy doesn't have to be a chore. Even...

9 Easy Low Sugar Breakfast Recipes to Start Your Day Off Right
Recipe Round-Ups

9 Easy Low Sugar Breakfast Recipes to Start Your Day Off Right

by Gretchen Lidicker | If you want to eat less sugar, finding no-sugar and low sugar breakfast recipes that are both easy...

Get fresh food news delivered to your inbox

Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest tips, tricks, recipes and more, sent twice a week.