“Soul food” is more than just a euphemism for comfort eating. It’s a term whose coinage marked the association of a particular type of cooking with a genre of music that first swept the country in the 1950s and 1960s. Here are a few places where you can find some good, authentic soul food in Bed-Stuy (arguably the soul food capital of New York).
Heavily influenced by cooking in the West Indies and elsewhere in the Caribbean, and cultivated on the Gulf Coast, soul food is for some almost synonymous with fish. If it’s comfort food of the sea you’re craving, Bed-Stuy Fish Fry has you covered. Whiting, tilapia, catfish, shrimp, crab, and lobster are all on the menu at this affordable institution. If you’re not feeling the seafood, the jerk chicken or rasta pasta will also satisfy your craving.
Like chicken and waffles? Have you ever tried fish and waffles? Ever even seen it on a menu? You can try it at Ma’s and it may change your life. In addition to this unique speciality, this cute Brooklyn joint has all standard fare you’d expect from a soul food restaurant. This includes fish and chips, a less daring alternative to fish and waffles.
Halsey Street Grill
Renowned for its barbecue, Halsey Street Grill has a wealth of experience pleasing hungry soul foodies. Pork chops, chicken breasts, and turkey legs are some of your choices from the BBQ. Other meaty favorites include grilled Texas steak and Southern-fried chicken. Sides range from steamed cabbage and other healthy greens to sinfully creamy mac ‘n’ cheese. If you’re staying in Brooklyn and order more than ten dollars worth of food, you can have Halsey Street Grill delivered.
This Lewis Street soul food restaurant looks like it’s been in operation for closer to a century than a decade, but we think it’s because it turns so much satisfied business. The specials menu here changes daily, and you don’t have to worry about being rushed out for customers waiting their turn for a table. The coffee-and-tea-sipping culture is alive and well at Ma’ N Pop.
There’s nothing artificial about the heat in Peaches HotHouse. Grandma Eda’s meatloaf might make you cry for your childhood, and the Nashville fried chicken is featured prominently on menus and advertisements alike. The catfish, jambalaya, and BBQ ribs draw considerable attention. The vibe in peaches, while filled with soul, is a bit more intimate and upscale.
The short ribs at Royal Rib House draw BBQ fans time and time and time again. Favored sides consist of collard greens, blueberry cornbread, and peppered mac ‘n’ cheese. If you have room for dessert, the banana pudding here makes some patrons wonder what all the fuss at Magnolia is about.
If you have a hankering for soul food, don’t miss out on Bed-Stuy’s low-frill, no-nonsense soul scene. The steamed or smoked or barbecued main you choose, broken up by bites of onion ring and candied yam, should leave you with a satisfied feeling in your stomach no matter the weather.