Downhome and deep-fried | Eat Arkansas

Monday, May 23, 2011

Downhome and deep-fried

Posted By on Mon, May 23, 2011 at 5:58 PM

FILLING:  Fried chicken and vegetables at David Family Kitchen
  • Kat Robinson
  • FILLING: Fried chicken and vegetables at David Family Kitchen
There’s a time and a place for fancy foods, for upscale dining, steak, seafood, sushi and sauerbraten. There are business lunches, anniversary dinners, celebratory suppers and the occasional working breakfast. David Family Restaurant does none of these.

It doesn’t have to. It’s comfort food central south of downtown, a downhome friendly place where there’s too much sugar in the peas and tea and too much grease in the chicken. And that’s all right.

It’s soul food, cheap and tasty.

There are plenty of breakfast items for those who care to venture out at 6 a.m. or later — pancakes and omelettes and lots of bacon and ham. For lunch, the menu changes daily. The day I went, the lunch entrée choices were fried chicken (dark $6.25, white $6.49 or two breasts $7.49), fried pork chops ($7.49 for two, $6.45 for one), beef oxtails for $11.50 (which I was sore tempted to get), meatloaf with red sauce ($6.99) and smothered pork chops ($6.49). Each entrée comes with two sides and your choice of cornbread or roll. I got the sweet peas and yams; other choices were cabbage, mac and cheese, black eyed peas and mashed potatoes.

You order up front with a tray (or ask for a to-go box) and pay. A gentleman will serve up your beverage at the far end of the counter and you find yourself a seat.

I noticed right away this strangeness — each table with a black gold-printed label. I actually asked my Facebook fans about this and was told it’s an old wait service thing, something to identify tables. Neat.

I went for the dark meat fried chicken — what can I say? I love some chicken thighs. The meat was thoroughly juicy in both leg and thigh, with a crispy salt-and-pepper buttermilk-type batter on the outside. The chicken portions were larger than I expected — a big manly chicken leg like that is a pretty decent amount of meat. The meat hadn’t picked up much seasoning but the battering compensated.

I had expected the yams to be sweet and they were — almost candy-like in their orange blush of goodness. What I hadn’t expected were the sweetness of the sweet peas.

Sweet peas are by definition sweet. These had obviously been doctored up with more sugar and some butter — I’m not complaining, it was just rather unexpected.

What I really liked, though, was the big fluffy house roll. I’d asked when I went through the line whether I should choose a roll or cornbread and the lady on the other side told me she never ate the cornbread no-how.

The roll was flaky and tall and soaked up a bit more of that chicken grease that if I had been wise and more health conscious I woulda left on the plate. Then again, if I had been health-conscious would I have been eating fried chicken with sweet-sweet peas?

It was more food than I could finish. It was filling and full of care, and I waddled out of there without finishing my yams. Cost me $10 with the tip I left on the table. Not bad.

David Family Kitchen is open for breakfast and lunch every day except Saturday. You’ll find it at 2301 Broadway, a couple of blocks north of Roosevelt. (501) 371-0141.

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