Inspired by the earlier posts on some restaurants that serve soul food, I decided to check out the House of Soul Food in Santa Clara. Its actually 5 min. away from my office and Ive been meaning to check it out. Arriving at the restaurant at 11:30 a.m., the place was completely empty except one guy waiting for his food, although I have seen the place with its parking lot full in the past. Lunch menu consists of BBQ ribs, BBQ chicken, hot links, fried stuff (chicken, catfish and red snapper), etc. Unless you get a dinner plate, the lunch special side is a choice among potato salad, coleslaw or fries. One could order Mac & cheese, baked beans, collard greens and likes as side orders. After hearing from the lady who took an order that pork rib and fried catfish are the 2 most popular items, I settled for the Smoked BBQ Pork Ribs.
It should have been a clear indication when I heard a microwave sound 3 minutes after I placed my order. The food was ready for me to pick up in 5 minutes! Nonetheless, I hurried back to my office, excited, with a hope that this could become a new favorite lunch spot. To my dismay, I had a blandest, chewiest rib in my life. Granted, I do not eat ribs that often (maybe twice a year) and do not claim to be an expert in BBQ rib area (although Id had enough experience of eating good soul food after living in Louisiana for a couple of years). Opening a Styrofoam container, I found 3 re-heated, lukewarm pork ribs, one piece of plain wheat bread and a small serving of coleslaw. The pork ribs were covered with a very small amount of thin, runny BBQ sauce that did not have any depth or flavor. The meat was not tender as I had hoped. In fact, I had to somehow manage to cut the things with a plastic knife! The coleslaw was really watery and sweet, with small bits of pineapples in it! I think the runniness came from a pineapple juice (perhaps juice from a can of pineapple)? My lunch with tax & tip totaled a little below $13 and it was indeed very disappointing meal experience.
After mentioning this to my co-worker, she told me that she had been there some years ago (and enjoyed its food) and had to wait for her food for a long time, so maybe I happened to go there when the chef was out? Or Is BBQ pork rib not their strength?? Maybe I should try fried catfish or fried chicken next time ., but after this experience, I am not in a hurry to go back anytime soon.
House of Soul Food
2015 Lafayette Street, Santa Clara