By Meredith Munk Special to The Herald
The plain storefront doesn’t scream, “New restaurant, come on in!” As you step inside, however, the hanging glass globes, warm-hued walls and wood flooring cast a welcoming glow.
The outgoing and friendly server (who is also a co-owner) who greets you makes you feel comfortable, as if you had entered her own home.
This family-owned business offers authentic Southern cuisine with a variety of options to satisfy anyone. They make a special effort to provide vegetarian choices.
A group of us went for dinner recently and it turned out to be so much more than we expected.
The first choices, called “The Front Porch” — evoking a scene of sitting in a rocking chair on an old Southern home’s large porch — includes peppercorn fried prawns or black jack prawns ($10), smoked ribs ($9) and andioulle and shrimp ($10).
We started with fried green tomatoes ($9), my favorite part of the meal. The tomato slices were cornmeal battered and sauteed then topped lightly with white cheddar and served over grits with ham slices and caramelized onions.
The table shared side dishes ($4 each) of potato cheddar cakes and jalapeno corn fritters.
The potato cakes were a big hit. These were firm, holding their shape, and flavorful, flecked with chopped scallions.
The fritters were splashed with a sweet bourbon caramel sauce. Don’t be afraid of the jalapeno in the name; these were not hot, but very flavorful.
The “Supper Table” choices include several steaks (rib eye, filet and top sirloin $22 to $24) with add-on choices: blackened with blue crumbles, crisp fried onions with or without special Creole seasoning and portabella mushrooms with Madera demi glaze, plus salmon and catfish ($21 and $22).
“From the Garden” includes salads with fresh greens, classic Caesar and “Bibb and Bleu,” which we ordered. It was crisp, fresh Bibb lettuce laden with bay shrimp and chunks of blue cheese, red onion and a few slivered almonds.
We also shared spoonfuls of their Louisiana gumbo, served over dirty rice. Topped with three corn fritters, it was dark and rich with a wonderful traditional gumbo flavor.
Their “Soul Kitchen” choices include smoked pork ribs, porterhouse chop, hog wings, buttermilk fried chicken and New Orleans fish fry.
Our table ordered two kinds of pork ribs. The smoked pork ribs had a house rub and were hickory smoked and served with a barbecue sauce on the side. Cornbread and baked beans rounded out this plate. The hog wings were braised pork shank, glazed in barbecue sauce, served over lime-cilantro coleslaw, very tangy, which cut the richness of the ribs. Garlic mashed potatoes made this order filling and hearty.
We also tried two options for non-meat eaters.
Served to us by the chef, the roasted veggie platter ($8) had a layer of flash braised local organic kale, large chunks of green and red bell peppers, onions, button mushrooms and big pieces of meaty lobster mushrooms. With a slice of cornbread, it made a delicious meal, vegetarian or otherwise.
Another vegetarian option is the pasta and vegetable platter ($14): roasted vegetables on a bed of thick, corkscrew pasta, which was dressed very delicately with a Creole cream sauce.
One thing worth mentioning: Don’t be in a rush when you go there. The atmosphere and the service are casual. Had we not been sharing so many dishes and having so much fun, the time between courses might have been a problem. Keep that in mind.
Sitting in the dining room you can see the chef and co-owner working in the small kitchen. This food is clearly all him. I don’t know if he is from the South, but after experiencing his food, I have to think that he must be an ole Southern soul himself.
Ole Soul Southern Creole
1105 Hewitt Ave., Everett; 425-320-9626.
Hours: 3 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 3 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Vegetarian options: Yes