By The Black Foodies
The Black Foodies recently chose Luella’s Southern Kitchen, located at 4609 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago, as #1 in our Top 5 Shrimp and Grits in Chicagoland. Naturally, we decided to return to Luella’s to explore more of Owner, Chef Darnell Reed’s menu. Chef Reed places an emphasis on cooking dishes from scratch. The buttermilk biscuits, the cornbread, and the jams are all made from scratch. Even the bread for the French toast is baked in-house and the grits are ground in-house from locally sourced white corn. The beef and poultry, also locally sourced, ensure quality and freshness. Chef Reed takes pride in serving fresh food; thus, some dishes are made to order to ensure a quality dining experience.
We first sampled the Buttermilk Fried Chicken, served with Collard Greens and a side of Smoked Honey (a drizzle for the chicken). The dish comes with a leg, thigh and breast – a combination of dark and white meat – and is fried to a golden brown. The crunch factor on the exterior was just right, while the interior was juicy and tender and very well-seasoned. Luella’s serves up a very good fried chicken, but it’s their smoked honey that elevates it to fabulicious! Wow! The honey is smoked in-house and was absolutely divine. The honey is not over-smoked and added a smoky sweetness to the fried chicken that we had never experienced before. This fried chicken/smoked honey collaboration is something special. Luella’s buttermilk fried chicken is a must-try dish. The collard greens coexist with roasted garlic, ham hocks, and creole seasonings, in perfect harmony. Luella’s greens have a nice bite to them, providing the tartness and freshness that we both appreciate with our collard greens. These collards took us back to Mississippi.
Up next was the Forever Braised Short Rib Mac and Cheese, with an order of Skillet Cornbread. Chef Reed prepares a Mornay sauce for his mac and cheese. Miss Coretta loved the Mornay sauce while I, on the other hand, prefer sharper cheeses in my cheese sauce. The short ribs were the star of this dish. They were prepared expertly – super tender with plenty of flavor. The pasta was cooked perfectly and, when combined with the other dish components, made for a well-executed dish. The cornbread came with honey butter and was fantastic. Allow approximately 20 minutes for your cornbread to be brought tableside. It is made to order and brought out piping hot in a mini-skillet. Slather on the honey butter and dig in. We loved the density of the cornbread, drizzled some of the smoked honey over it . . . and, yes, we’re addicted. This is some mighty fine cornbread, indeed.
For dessert, we tried Luella’s Southern Kitchen’s version of Hummingbird Cake. Hummingbird Cake is a spice cake made with pineapples, bananas and pecans, with a cream cheese frosting. Luella’s rendition of this southern classic was delightful. The cinnamon brought a warmness to this moist cake, and the cream cheese frosting was on point, adding just the right amount of sweetness. The pineapples, bananas, and pecans added freshness and texture.
Luella’s Southern Kitchen is doing some very creative and unique takes on southern cuisine. We also recommend the Chicken Gumbo, Mississippi Hot Tamales and, of course, the Shrimp and Grits. Make sure you drop in and bring your favorite beverage, Luella’s is BYOB. Chef Darnell Reed is certainly making a name for himself in the Chicago culinary scene. We are sure Great-grandma, Luella, is very proud of him.
We rank restaurants based on number of kisses (one thru five). One…two…three…four, with five being the best. Luella’s Southern Kitchen receives 4-1/2 kisses. Check out the video of our review at https://youtu.be/9JP3UoGh1H8
The Black Foodies are food bloggers/vloggers and husband and wife of 25 years. We are also home cooks who believe in group economics and LOVE great food. We write the food blog ‘Let’s Eat’, where we review black-owned and other ethnic restaurants. FOLLOW us on Instagram and Twitter @theblackfoodies, SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube Channel ‘The Black Foodies’, where we review restaurants, share recipes, and give cooking tips. https://youtu.be/f1fsSQ24wgQ. Also LIKE us on Facebook and join our Facebook group, ‘World Wide Black Foodies’.
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