When the original Chow, Baby (a.k.a. Christy Goldfinch) recommended a restaurant for me to review, I jumped on the idea and also invited her to come along. (At first I wasn’t sure if we were allowed in the same room together, but then I realized I was confusing us with the Highlander.) It’s nice to kiss the ring every now and again. It would also have been nice if either of us professional foodies had remembered to Google-map the place, or at least written down the phone number or address.
We were supposed to go to a popular Eastside barbecue joint that recently changed owners. We’d both been there before and thought we could just find it instinctively. After all, my car is like a barbecue divining rod, especially when I’m hungry.
As the two of us circled east Fort Worth, our stomachs and egos growling, we passed O’ Sweet Georgia’s soul food restaurant (3914 Miller Ave.). It was an “ah-ha” moment. Surely this was the hand of fate shepherding us toward our true destination. Also, we were really hungry and tired of driving around.
Inside, the place was sparsely decorated. The soundtrack to our lunch was the Maury Povich Show, which featured several women waiting to find out who their baby-daddies were. Eating at O’ Sweet Georgia’s is a little like being a guest in someone’s living room — a living room that has a buffet line and bars on the windows. Though I’m not a big fan of daytime talk shows, I could suffer Maury under those circumstances.
Owner John Johnson greeted us. He told us several times how happy he was that we landed at his tiny restaurant and insisted that we try a complimentary concoction of lemonade, ice tea, and some red fruity drink. It was a little sweet for my taste, but I didn’t want to disappoint Johnson, whose grandfatherly charm was irresistible.
In the buffet line, Chow One ordered a lunch plate with pork steaks ($8.50), rice, creamed corn, and lima beans —– which made me a little jealous, since that is what I wanted. But at least I got to ask for a bite of everything. The pork steaks, soaked in delicious gravy made from drippin’s and flour, stole the show. They were tender and not too fatty, and the gravy and rice mixture was classically brilliant comfort food. The lima beans were a tad too salty and served in their own thickened sauce. The creamed corn, which looked more like corn cobbler, was sweet and cooked al dente.
I was clearly out-ordered. My fried catfish plate ($8) was OK, but the breaded-and-fried fish was lukewarm and cooked whole, which meant I had to pick out the bones while watching Chow One eat the pork I really wanted. My collard greens were not bitter at all (a common problem), but, again, a tad too salty. The sweet potatoes were like Thanksgiving in July.
The house-made peach cobbler ($2.25) was everything a cobbler should be: sweet but not puckeringly so, hot, delicious, and tasting of bourbon and a healthy dose of cinnamon.
My biggest complaint about the meal was the temperature inside the restaurant. On a scorching day in a tiny café with steam tables, no amount of red drink could neutralize the heat. I was soaked in sweat by the time we finished eating.
Still, I’ll go back. What could have been a fiasco turned out to be serendipitous. The food is all made in-house, the staff was friendly and welcoming, and I am having daydreams about the pork and cobbler. It was also nice to reconnect with Chow One (who still takes notes while eating). Even if we didn’t find the place we were looking for, we liked the place we found. I’ll probably wait until cool weather to go back, though — and I’m getting in line ahead of Chow One next time.
Contact Chow, Baby at firstname.lastname@example.org