I walked down to Flo’s Plate Full of Soul (133 E. Court St., Downtown, 513-421- 3567) from CityBeat World Headquarters last week with a couple staffers. The new girl in the office, a vegetarian, picked out a nice Thai place on the way to Flo’s as a backup. She suspected Flo’s vegetarian options might be minimal. When we arrived, we checked out the menu briefly, and she bid us farewell.
Flo’s is carryout only, so don’t let the name fool you — you won’t get a plate. What you will get is a tasteful array of home-cooked dishes that Styrofoam does no justice.
I heard the catfish was good so I ordered the Catfish Dinner ($8.99), which comes with two sides. I got the Mac & Cheese and Fresh Cut Yam French Fries. My taste buddy opted for 12 ounces of Soul Chicken Chili ($3.50) and an 8-ounce side of Fried Potatoes with onions ($3.50).
Back at the office, the new girl said the breading on the catfish looked particularly even. It was. The cornmealbased breading has less of a tendency to absorb the cooking oil than flour or batter, and I think it tastes better, too.
It was flavorful and crisp with no hint of greasiness. The fish itself was moist and tender. I’m always excited to see yam or sweet potato fries. These were cut relatively thin, which resulted in a nice balance of crispy edges and a soft, sweet inside. The fried potatoes were similarly textured and the browned onions were a nice addition.
The Mac & Cheese had a good cheesy flavor but was a little soft for my taste. A small square of cornbread is included with the dinner (or separately for 60 cents). It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t measure up to the other victuals in front of me.
I didn’t ask for or receive any type of dipping sauce for the fries, didn’t see anything about tartar sauce or lemon for the fish. And it didn’t matter: The fries were great on their own, as was the catfish.
The Soul Chicken Chili was a rich soup with plenty of white beans and chunks of chicken. Mind you, this is not Cincinnati-style chili. It was well seasoned like everything else we had. The Soul Chicken Chili is the type of food you need in the winter, especially after braving the cold for the journey into your soul … food establishment.
Flo’s portion sizes are just right. It’s a good thing, too, because you’re going to want to save room for their famous cobbler ($4-$7). This week they had peach. I never thought of it before, but cobbler makes a perfect to-go dessert. It was sweet and warm and gooey, and it made me feel that way on the inside, too.
Flo’s also serves breakfast and has specials like the Baked Leg Quarters on Tuesdays and Salmon Croquette on Fridays. So if you find yourself stumped for lunch options, just do a little soul searching.
CONTACT BRIAN CROSS: firstname.lastname@example.org