The menu said the meatloaf came topped with a tomato gravy so I decided to give it a try since I have been obsessed with the tomato and beef gravy that comes on the meatloaf at Southern Hands for several months now. Since I was going to compare it to Southern Hands I decided to also get my standard sides from the restaurant of turnip greens and purple-hull peas.
The price for the plate lunches is only $6.99. After taking my order the waitress, who was the friendly grandmother-type server you'd expect to find in a country diner, mentioned that it was free banana pudding day so if I wanted she'd bring me some for dessert after my meal. I usually take a pass on dessert but I was born and raised in the South and I don't turn down free 'naner puddin.' The server started to walk off before turning around and mentioning that the restaurant was also offering a special with any meat and two combo of four coconut shrimp for $1. At that point I wasn't sure if she just thought I looked too skinny and needed to be fattened up but I told her to add the shrimp to my order too.
The shrimp came out with my cornbread. Four shrimp, two corn muffins, meatloaf, turnip greens, peas and banana pudding is pretty hefty meal for just $7.99 before tax and tip. I only had a few bites of the corn bread but it was good enough that I could have easily eaten more. I was happen to see that it came with real butter (ingredients: cream, salt) not any type of vegetable oil-based frankenfood.
When my main plate of food came out I was disappointed by the meatloaf since the "tomato gravy" listing in the menu had made me excited. The "tomato gravy" it was swimming in looked like ketchup and tasted like ketchup. Southern Hands has definitely raised my expectations when it comes to meatloaf. Also, at Southern Hands I've gotten spoiled by greens and peas that never need additional seasoning. At the Cottage both were way underseasoned. The greens were fine with some salt, pepper and Bruce's Hot Pepper Sauce. The peas didn't have any pork flavor, which should be the foundation of delicious peas. I added Louisiana Hot Sauce, salt and pepper to them but it is hard to get the salt level right on peas that didn't get enough while they were cooking. Like Plate Lunch in Bartlett the Cottage serves up old-fashioned white country cooking as opposed to flavorful soul food. The portions are generous and none of the food I tried was bad, but there was nothing to truly excite the taste buds other than the dessert.
The cottage served me some some great homemade banana pudding and at a price of free it was impossible to turn down.