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(NBM) Opinions sought: I never got a bad meal at . . .

Found a great place to eat - Send a critique for The Epicurean Kentuckian (not a person; the EK is a State of Mind). 100 words or more. Photo(s) appreciated.

By Ed Waggener

There may be no better accolade for a restaurant than "I never got a bad meal there."

Consistent quality of food - knowing what to expect and getting it - may be the most important element behind a restaurant's success.

It's something we say about a Columbia destination restaurant, Betty's OK Country Kitchen, and many other places here and elsewhere. We'll only mention Betty's because it's such an institution. And, perhaps Shapiro's in Indianapolis, and the whole State of Arkansas for Fried Catfish, served with slaw, french fries and tomato pickles and sweet Vidalia Onions. (There ought to be a law, similar to the Grits Ordinance, that any restaurant serving catfish be required to serve pickled tomatoes with it.

You're the expert on the food you eat. Tell us. The endorsements don't have to be about those who advertise in What's Cooking, or even South Central Kentucky Cookings. In fact, reports from new Duncan Hineses, Calvin Triliins, and Tom Chaney wannabees are more than encouraged.

Your comments can be about a single item, a single cook, a single town (Sulphur Well comes to mind; as does Glen Rose, Texas.) It can be about a caterer like Paula Miller. It can be a church or fire department (Knifley for fish), or even about an individual specialist cook (like David Jones frying fish for Jones Chapel or a Glendo Parnell homecoming - though that's Knifley, again; that's where David Jones learned how to cook, we think.)

It may be, to borrow from the Kitchen Sisters, a Secret Kitchen, and genre, like those wonderful non-profits who set up barbecue stands in Owensboro and only sell one item: Whole Barbecue Chickens. Not halves. Not parts, Not with bread. Not with sides. Not with drinks. Just perfectly prepared whole barbecued chicken.

Or your comments may be about a cook from the past. Only MY mother comes to mind on that one. And MY mother in law in recent years.

It may be some specialty food you've never forgotten: Like the buffalo ribs (fish) served in a corrugated shack in Louisiana, or oysters from Swan Quarter, NC, where you only nibbled the soggy french fries and bad slaw - but the fried oysters -those were incredible!

We ask that the submissions be at least 100 words. Not all will be printed. CM tries to be selective. And the only compensation is maybe 12 hours of a glorious Slide Down the Front Page of CM and possibly perpetual retention in the archives, and for sure, immense appreciation from a grateful food-loving nation. Send submissions using the Contact Form with this article. Or use any Contact/Submit button.

PS: Individual restaurants in chains aren't included. Some of my most unforgettable perfect meals were in restaurants carrying national badges: Like the Hardee's in Sparta, Tennessee or any DQ in Texas. In that country, one argues over the superiority of the local Dairy Queen as ardently and as passionately as one proclaims the perfection of the local Baptist Church or High School football team. -EW

This story was posted on 2012-03-30 07:35:05
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