Friday, February 10, 2017

Sams Southern Eatery--Fishy Chicky and Full

Menu for Abilene location
Yes, almost everything served at Sam's Southern Eatery is fried but they also have salads and grilled options. I didn't have grilled anything today and I'm alright with that. Sam's Southern Eatery is a medium-sized chain with about 50 locations in nine states. They started in Shreveport, Louisiana. It is refreshing to see a restaurant opening in the center of town (N.1st and Westwood area) for a change and judging by the business they were doing, I believe others think so as well.

Today, my husband and I had a late lunch (around 1:15pm) and the place looked like it had been hit by a tornado during the noon hour. I imagine that the rush will calm down once the novelty wears off a bit and the staff will have more time to clean the dining room and take out the trash. There were also plumbers there working on the pipes. I've heard from other people that they have run out of food and sometimes the staff have been cranky because of traffic hitting the restaurant, though we didn't have that experience. Abilene is hungry for good seafood. This location has only been open about 10 days. These issues aside, the main dishes we had were scrumptious!

Fish, shrimp, red beans and rice, green beans

We ate three types of fried seafood. The catfish had a wonderfully seasoned, crispy cornmeal breading. These were real fillets, not little slivers of fish. The shrimp is advertised as jumbo-sized and they were indeed big and juicy. My husband had some fried crab cakes which were fine but not up to the level of the fish and shrimp. Their spicy tarter sauce is yummy but the fish didn't need it to help the taste profile.

Crab cakes, fish and shrimp

Entree size was very generous, I got more than the 6 pieces of shrimp I was supposed to have. Sides were on the small side. We had some red beans and rice which were homemade, green beans, and mac and cheese. I think the red beans are the standout on the sides. They do have fried green tomatoes on the appetizer menu but I don't know if they are made in-house. The hush-puppies were a little overcooked but had a nice onion flavor. Perhaps some greens would be a welcome addition to the menu. As would a couple of dessert items. My husband would love to see some crawdads, gumbo, etouffee, or shrimp stew. He has very fond memories of living in S.E. Texas as a kid.

The menu also has fried chicken tenders, wings, livers, and gizzards. Livers and gizzards means southern! Fried oysters too. You can get po-boy sandwiches and burgers as well. The fish and shrimp are the standouts for me.

Dine-in and takeout only (despite being in an old Taco Bell with a drive thru lane right in front of the door). Be aware that the food takes a little while to cook since they are making it fresh. I think Long John Silver's a block away may be in trouble and other places in town that serve fried catfish better watch their backs...there is a new kid in town.

Address: 3509 N 1st St, Abilene, TX 79603

Update: Skip calling in and picking it up. I retrieved our order within the 20 minutes they said it would take and the food was not hot, had a rubbery texture, and they forgot the fried green tomatoes. The fried mushrooms we did have were way too greasy, as though they had been fried twice. Eat in or wait for them to cook it for takeout so you know it was made fresh. I've always been pleased up until this order.  

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