Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Maddie's Place makes a believer out of a skeptic

Posted By on Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 8:11 AM

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Three years is a long time to go between meals at a place, but that's how long it had been since I set foot in Maddie's Place over in Riverdale. On that last visit, I wrote something for this blog bemoaning a lack of spice in my po' boy—and several of you took me to task for it and told me I was out of my mind. Well, the seasons came and went, and there were other places to try, and I just never got around to getting back into the place to see if another meal would make me change my mind.

I guess better late than never, right? Because I did make it back into Maddie's just recently, and I have to say that it was one of the most delicious meals I've had in some time. There were no spice issues. No service issues. In fact, the only issue I had at all with the meal is that once I was done, I wished I could go back in time just so I could start the whole thing over. It was that good.

We started off with a plate of the Fried Green Tomatoes with Crabmeat and Remoulade, and right away the bontemps were starting to all sorts of rouler. Crisp-fried tomatoes hit the tongue with a delightful tang, while the ample portion of luscious crab meat provided a nice juxtaposition of flavor, texture and temperature to the piping-hot tomatoes. The fried green tomato is a dish that I've found is often better in theory than in practice, but not this time. Well-breaded, well-cooked and full of flavor, this appetizer was a wonderful way to start the meal.

For my entree, I went for the Crispy Fried Oysters with Baby Spinach, Brie Cheese Crostini & Warm Bacon Vinaigrette—a mouthful both on the menu and on the plate. Large, plump oysters were the star of this dish, and unlike the under-seasoned shellfish I recalled from all those years prior, these were nicely spiced without destroying the natural flavor of the oysters themselves. The spinach was fresh and tasty, and the addition of the slightly sour, slightly smoky bacon vinaigrette was perfection. Everything sort of turned into a bacon-flavored wilt salad with a little bit of kick, and that was just fine by me. Oh, and the brie crostini? I could have eaten an embarrassing amount of them because the brie was perfectly warm and creamy.

While I was enjoying my salad, across the table the wife was tucking into a bowl of BBQ Shrimp with roasted garlic grits and blue cheese crumbles, and it was this dish that finally changed my mind for good about Maddie's. Velvety grits held up a scattering of perfectly grilled shrimp mixed in with a delightful pile of blue cheese, and the whole affair was swimming in a rich, dark sauce that I think would taste good poured over just about anything. Seriously, if Maddie's ever wanted to put Cajun poutine on the menu, this would be the sauce to use, and I dipped the crostini from my salad into it more than once. As a companion to the grits, it was simply divine. 

I always love going back to a place and finding that my opinion of it has changed for the better, and with the meal we had at Maddie's Place, I've joined the masses who sing the place's praises. I guarantee it won't be another three years before I make it back in for supper—and I guarantee that that shrimp and grits dish will be in front of me next time.

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