I damn near threw my elbow out on the salt shaker.
Country Boyz Fixins is the newest tenant in the building that formerly housed both Sallie’s Down Home Cooking back in the 90s, and more recently, E.12th Kafe, up to about 2 months ago.
The building has seen a lot of chicken fried inside its tiny confines. Ordering a basket of chicken wings and fries seems like a natural fit given the restaurant’s rich history. And that chicken is perfectly cooked. But in desperate need of seasoning. Salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic powder….something. It’s a shame too as the fry man exhibits good technique.
A bowl of gumbo arrives, and it’s good looking with a tawny hue and perfectly cooked rice straddling it. Unfortunately the chef’s aversion to seasoning extends itself to this dish too as it’s in serious need of doctoring up. Nothing a few bulbs of chopped garlic, a heaping dose of black pepper and a tablespoon or 3 of cayenne can’t remedy.
The side of fries that comes with the chicken is the freezer bag version served at 90% of restaurants in Austin. Never mind that a sack of genuine potatoes is one of the cheapest things a restaurateur can buy in Texas. Frozen commodity fries are the order of the day at all but the most committed kitchens in town. We ask for and receive a bowl of ranch and once we lay the Louisiana Hot Sauce to it, we do manage to breathe life into these forlorn potatoes.
Collard greens are fresh and properly cooked into the “down” state. Yams too have been tilled from a field and simmered into a benign state of softness.
A deep-fried pork chop is properly dredged, and served not-hammered, but has zero flavor. We’re not expecting Red Wattle heritage pork at these low prices but salt and pepper are cheap, and worthy additions to any cook’s arsenal.
Service is exemplary. Our waitress is friendly and happy to be at work. Certainly a rare occurrence in this modern Austin.
Country Boyz Fixins has got a long, tough row to hoe, but we’re betting they can do it. It’s tough coming out of the chute with well executed soul food cuisine. We grew up eating at the table of legendary Southern soul food chef Nellie Sullivan, and have a high bar when it comes to this, our all-time favorite genre of cooking.
Austin will never contend with Tuscaloosa or Oxford when it comes to serving big plates of meat n 3. We’ve long since resigned ourselves to this fact. Yet, we still get excited by places that serve chicken and dumplings, meatloaf and mashed potatoes.
Call us dreamers.
Come out to our Let Us Now Praise Texas Women restaurant pop up this weekend at Tamale House East. reserve a seat https://www.eventbrite.com/event/8903844639?ref=estw