Sunday, October 7, 2012

Uptown Soul Food - Best Kept Secret

I've noticed Best Kept Secret Soul Food & Grill while driving down Danny Thomas Boulevard in the past and had been intending to stop there. Then last week, Ken over at Ken's Food Find specifically recommended the place to me after posting a review of the good food and service he enjoyed there. So when I found myself in the area Thursday afternoon I made sure to check the place out.

The restaurant is right off of Danny Thomas on Chelsea in the Uptown area.I talked about the revitalization of Uptown in a post about Cozy Corner last year. The shopping center Best kept Secret inhabits is a good example of the kind of pedestrian-oriented design that draws people to old neighborhoods like Uptown. But don't worry, there is still plenty of parking in the back of the building. And in a testament to how much the Uptown area has changed over the past two decades, when I was leaving the restaurant I noticed another customer who was leaving at the same time as me had left the top and windows down on his Mercedes convertible while he was getting his food with no problem.

In his review of the place Ken had mentioned how good the neckbones were. I absolutely love the tender, juicy meat of good neckbones so when I saw they were on the menu for Thursdays and a plate lunch with them and two sides was only $6 I immediately knew what I was getting.

For a mere $6 it was an impressively generous serving of exceptionally tender and meaty neckbones. I got my order with greens and pinto beans. Both the sides were well-seasoned, but the greens were definitely improved with a splash of the Bruce's Green Hot Pepper Sauce that was already on the table next to the Louisiana Hot Sauce I always put on my neckbones. I'd be interested to know when these two sauces became the universal standard condiments for Southern cooking. I've never been to a country cooking or soul food restaurant where hot sauce and green pepper sauce weren't available, and nine times out of ten it is specifically the Bruce's and Louisiana brand names. 

Like a lot of small soul food places, Best Kept Secret is cash only. I enjoyed the "credit is a disease, don't worry you won't catch it here" sign used to make that clear.

When I'd first arrived at the restaurant there was a crowd of people ordering and waiting for food at the counter, but the friendly staff kept everything moving despite the sudden rush from out of nowhere that is a part of life in the restaurant business. By the time I had my food a few minutes later there was no wait at the order counter.

Best Kept Secret is the kind of place I've loved finding on my barbecue and soul food quest. It's a locally owned restaurant where I can get healthy real food for barely more money than a fast food value meal. The quest has never been about trying to declare any single place the best barbecue or soul food in town. Constantly trying new places has fully opened my eyes to just how many little gems like Best Kept Secret there are spread throughout the Mid-south. Places like it shouldn't be kept secret.

Best Kept Secret on Urbanspoon

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