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DINING: Down Home Cookin' lives up to comfort food claims

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Dining - A&E

The folks at Down Home Cookin’ (2621 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St., 924-2980) boast that their food is “as good as your mom’s, if not better.” In my case, that’s not saying much, given that my mom specialized in fish sticks and frozen dinners.

But let’s say your mom crafted comfort food with an eye toward not letting anyone leave the dinner table until they were stuffed and satisfied. Let’s say a lifetime of feeding whatever friends and family showed up for dinner prepped her for being able to craft meals for sizable crowds. And let’s say she always kept a smile on her face. Even then, I think Down Home Cookin’ might live up to its claim.
 

ae-home-cookin01-15col.jpg The meatloaf, at $8.99, proved tasty with onions and green pepper. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Food here is served cafeteria-style—take a look at the steam-table offerings, which can change daily, and just let the line folks know what you want. For us, that meant Meat Loaf ($8.99), Baked Chicken ($8.99) and Smothered Pork Chops ($9.75), each accompanied by two sides and a disc of cornbread with a crispy, sugary exterior.

The chicken offered something the colonel does not—a juicy, and hefty, serving that packed flavor into the tender meat. The pork chops were moist and meaty enough to resemble pulled pork on the fork—so much so that my lunch companion longed for some tangier seasoning. And the meat loaf featured just enough onion and green pepper in the mix to keep things interesting.

Sides included overdone collard greens and sturdier black-eyed peas, green beans, mac and cheese, sweet potatoes (yes!) and more.

Even after stuffing yourself, it’s difficult to resist a small Chess Pie ($3) that tempted me to ask for seconds. A bowl of Blackberry Cobbler ($3) was irresistible without even being heated up, despite the owner’s insistence that she do so.

The dining room at Down Home Cookin’ is comfortable and casual—even if it is a bit tacky to have a sign under the table glass reminding customers to leave tips on the table.•

—Lou Harry

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Last in a month-long series of keep-it-simple restaurant reviews.
 

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