The opinion of my operatic colleague Michael Mayes is always worth asking when it comes to barbecue and Texas eats. Luckily, I had the good sense to do so last week. It yielded a real find: Drew's Place.
This joint serves the best soul food I've had in years. On my first visit (for which I, unfortunately, forgot my camera), my friend ordered fried pork chops - a much better choice than what I ordered. They were perfectly fried - still moist (how easily American pork chops dry out, thanks to American pigs having had the fat bred out of them), with a delicious, slightly-peppery breading. The meal was capped with the most delicious pecan pie I have ever tasted (photo coming soon): tender pecans in a rich, not-too-sweet filling. This is a dessert that's worth the calories.
Since I had been having dreams about those pork chops, I returned today to try the smothered pork chops. Two of the same fried pork chops are stacked and smothered in a brown onion gravy. They were divine.
Each main dish is served with your choice of two sides from a list of fairly typical Southern "vegetables" (like macaroni and cheese). Quite possibly the star of any meal where they appear is the turnip greens. Beautiful - simmered long and slow with lots of cured pork product and some finely diced turnip and onion.
The mashed potatoes are fantastic and, of course, homemade, with just enough tender little lumps of potato to confirm the fact. Unfortunately, I'm afraid I can't particularly recommend the macaroni and cheese here - it's not bad, exactly, but it's not baked, and the cheese sauce almost certainly comes from a can.
Their sweet potato pie is almost as good as their pecan pie, and - naturally - palpably house-made.
As a New York City resident, the early closing times of restaurants in other parts of the country takes some getting used to, but one definitely needs to plan around Drew's closing time of 6 p.m. if one is thinking dinner. Closed Sunday and Monday.
Drew's Place Restaurant
5701 Curzon Ave., Fort Worth, TX 76107