Tag Archives: southern

Last Legg – 03.20.08

Last Legg Chicken and Waffles
453 Somerset Street
Somerset, NJ 08873
(732) 846-8900

Only open for 9 weeks, Eatclub convened at Last Legg for some good ol’ southern cookin’ and it did not disappoint. Just a short drive from Easton Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ the cozy eatery offered window-side eating, bright decor, and best of all fried chicken and waffles. Also offered on the menu are Jamaican Style jerk, various fried seafood, and plenty of homestyle sides. They all looked great but we first had to get the namesake of the restaurant, chicken and waffles. A visit back is defintely in order to try the other dishes.

Fried chicken and waffles combo with 2 sides ($12). A breakfast and dinner combined into one (read story in above picture). Salty and sweet, savory and greasy, how can you go wrong with those flavors. The fried chicken was excellent. The leg and thigh were perfectly cooked and juicy and the skin was crunchy and seasoned well. Don’t expect the Colonel’s recipe here, the chicken is more like home cookin’. The waffles were a great complement, slightly sweet but not airy enough. This might have been because the order was rushed as there was a long wait for our food because it was so busy.

Jerk chicken platter was good, very good. Plenty of jerk seasoning with noticeable heat. This too tasted very close to homemade jerk. Chicken was well cooked and not dry at all. The rice and beans were also very good, tasty and flavorlicious. The pickled vegetable side was something I never had before and it was good albeit a little intense. We may need a 2nd opinion on it as I’m not sure how authentic it is.

Sides. Scrumptious sides. I had difficulty choosing only 2 but decided to go with the standard collard greens and mac & cheese to set a benchmark. The collard greens were average. It seemed like it was missing something, perhaps pork for more flava? The M&C was excellent. Not too cheesy, buttery smooth and dense with a fine proportion of both the moist innards and browned cheesy top. Always get this as one of your sides. Washed all this down with the ice tea/sweet tea. The tea was good and was home brewed but I personally prefer a stronger and sweeter tea. Had a fruity flavor which was an interesting twist.

Good:
Authentic southern cookin’ in New Brunswick with reasonable prices.
Chicken and M&C alone make it worth checking out.
Cozy decor makes you feel at home.
They have lunch specials and daily specials.

Bad:
Off the beaten path from Easton Ave., almost have to drive there.
Service was long, perhaps due to lots of orders (a good sign right?).

Ugly:
Cemetery view across the street reminds you of what will happen if you eat too much fried chicken.

-bru

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Mama’s Food Shop – 01.08.2008

Mama’s Food Shop
200 East 3rd Street
New York, NY 10009
212-777-4425
http://www.mamasfoodshop.com/

To give credit where credit is due, Mama’s Food Shop was chosen from one of my favorite food blog sites, cheapassfood.com and it did not disappoint. Mama’s is southern/comfort style food with LARGE portions. It was a balmy 60 degree NYC January evening and the unusual weather was a fitting prelude to this peculiar little food joint. Hanging out on the steps and coming in and out of the restaurant were young 20 somethings from the NYC biker/messenger scene, grown men with books and reading glasses in hand, and us a posse of starving asians.

Upon entering the correct entrance of the shop (screen door on the right) and not the employee entrance, you’re greeted with the first dimly lit room of small tables and chairs sprinkled with tea lights. Literally in the middle of Mama’s is the kitchen. Food service is cafeteria style where you point at your food, pay, and then seat yourself. It is actually like being at your friend’s mama’s house where you marvel at the amazing selections, grab some, and find a seat somewhere; with the exception that you have to pay. The spread is indeed impressive as you actually become part of the kitchen while you wait your turn in line. Behind you, you hear the deep fryer bubbling with golden country fried chicken and on the counter are trays of cut zucchini roasted to caramelizing, and the freshly baked meatloaf is glistening right beside you, unsliced and sauced in all its glory. Yes, this coziness and openness is all part of Mama’s charm.

We carefully carried our spoils past the busy kitchen staff into the next room, a dining room for about 10-15 people. There we ate, laughed, cried, and talked the evening away in Mama’s bright mama portrait filled dining room. In the next room, you find a more contemporary and dimmer dining area complete with its own “booze” (as one of the staff pointed out as he noticed our concern of the lack of a bar).

I had the baked salmon with 2 sides of tomato & feta salad and roasted brussel sprouts with garlic and herb; all for $12. Fish was cooked and seasoned well but don’t expect it to be of the wild caught Alaskan variety, nothing but farm raised here I surmise. The tomato salad was cool and fresh and excellent and the unripeness of the tomato was actually a nice complement to the zing of the marinade and the tang of the feta. The brussels were roasted well and caramelized nicely along with plenty of roasted garlic and herbs. It was good but hard to eat all of what they gave you. Eating family style is obligatory and I managed to sample items from my fellow clubbers within fork distance and beyond. I adhered to my current diet restrictions and sampled: macaroni and cheese, not too cheesy and could not stop eating it. Hint of garlic and nutmeg?; mashed potatoes, very smooth and creamy and potasty; herbed pasta salad was also very good. In fact everything tasted as good as it looked. Supposedly, the fried chicken was excellent in italics and supposedly the meatloaf was somehow even better. I will definitely have to go back to confirm. Eric graciously bought apple cobbler for dessert and one order was enough to satisfy 8 stuffed and food-comatose eat clubbers. Good size portion. plenty of crumb topping, and sweet; it hit the spot. Bus your own plates in the back sink and clean up your crumbs because Mama cooked all that wonderful food and it’s the least you can do; even if “Mama” is a bunch of spanish cooks in a kitchen manned by NYC hipsters.

Good:
Tasty comfort food and BIG portions for less than $12 for meat and 2 sides.
Cozy atmosphere where nooks range from eating in Mama’s noisy dining room to a quiet library setting lit by candlelight.
No reservations needed and bonus, no tip!

Bad:
Not the neatest or cleanest looking of places
Can become loud if you’re not the loudest party in the room.
Most food is purposely served cold. (use the microwave located near where you pay, it’s what it’s there for)

Ugly:
Portrait of the nude lady (by now a grandma). (shiver)

-bru