Occupation: Food Photographer
Location: San Jose
Favorite Restaurant: Lillie Mae’s House of Soul Food
Reviewed Lillie Mae’s House of Soul Food: Saturday, February 16, 2013
I’ve never had soul food from a restaurant. All the soul food I’ve ever tried has been through family and friends’ kitchens. Oh and yes, Texas Smokehouse on Capitol has the best greens ever and their BBQ is pretty damn good. However, I’m already planning WHO else I can bring back there with me! Key is to get a group of friends and order a little bit of everything so you can try it all! I’ve never had fried chicken like this before! I ordered the fried chicken and pork rib combo plate, which came with two pieces of fried chicken and three nice sized pork ribs. My buddy ordered the brisket and BBQ chicken plate and between us we ordered sides of mac n’ cheese, greens, baked beans, corn bread and fried okra and some sweet tea to wash it down with! It was a toss up between grape Kool-Aid and sweet tea. This is THE best fried chicken I’ve ever had. I can’t even describe the way the skin has the consistency of good pork cracklin’! I wouldn’t be surprised if they deep-fried their chicken in straight up pork fat! Everything was very flavorful, fresh tasting; all the different types of meats were tender and tasty. THIS will be my soul food go-to place! Thanks Duy! Let your SOUUUUL GLOWWWW!
Occupation: Olympic Champion / Cookbook Author
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Pompei’s Grotto
Reviewed Lillie Mae’s House of Soul Food: Friday, March 1, 2013
Well I was having heart palpitations, and I can’t determine if it was the fatty food I ate, or if it was the stress I went through trying to get a reservation at Lillie Mae’s House of Heart Attack.
I live an hour away and I like to have reservations anyway when I go out. What confusion. The website says to call or email for reservation. I did both. In fact I called four times and had friends call two times. A total of six — no response at all. I emailed twice only to get the answer that they don’t take reservations on Friday or Saturday. I emailed back. “Can we do Thursday at the same time?” No response. I emailed again two days later. Hallelujah, a returned email. It said “you only need a reservation for large parties.” Honestly, I didn’t care if the food was BBQ at the French Laundry. I understood as soon as I walked in the door why reservations were not needed. First of all, there was no hostess and second of all, it was an order at the counter and pick up your own food kind of place. Nowhere on the website does it say or show that.
The two best things about the meal were the corn bread, which was moist and sweet with whole corn kernels in the batter, and the hush puppies that had a beefy rough grain-fried crust, like an apple fritter. I ordered the combo hot links and brisket. The links were between a hot dog and a chorizo. They were really spicy. The brisket was not in shredded chunks but in little pieces like a portion from the bottom of the pot. I chose two sides of fried okra and collard greens. The okra was pretty bland but it had a nice crunchy texture and the collard greens were spicy with healthy dose of vinegar, which made them pretty sour. We also ordered the BBQ pork ribs and chicken. It came with two sides, which were the fried sweet potatoes, and were dusted with a little sugar. It made a nice combination of sweet and salty. We also ordered baked beans. These had a mild molasses flavor but were pretty bland.
Overall I really liked the flavor of the BBQ sauce, which was tangy and sweet, but all the dishes are mixed with the same sauce. It became a little sauce overload. On top of that, the ribs were a little dry and one was even so tough it was hard to chew. It was pretty reasonable at $20 per person, and a good place to go before a Sharks game because you can get in and out quickly. Oh and I forgot the décor; it is fun: Hooters meets Country Bear Jamboree with a little Deliverance thrown in.
Occupation: Stay-at-home Mom
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: SPQR
Reviewed Lillie Mae’s House of Soul Food: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Lillie Mae’s is a good find if you are looking for good old soul food. I went for the all you can eat Sunday brunch and felt that the food quality, taste and variety were all very good. My favorite dish was the mac & cheese; it was simply comfort food at its best with a crispy top layer and lots of warm melted cheese and soft macaroni inside. My least favorite item I tried was the infamous Kool-Aid mimosa because I found it to be way too sweet and could only take a few sips. There was no wait to sit and the staff was friendly and welcoming. The crowd was on the quieter side and it was nice to see people just enjoying their food and families, even though there was TV and light music in the background. Because it was a 45 minute drive outside of San Francisco for me, I don’t know if I will go back anytime soon. However, I found the buffet to be a great value for the choice and amount of food offered and I would recommend this restaurant to comfort food lovers that live or work nearby.