Each Friday, this list will track five of the best things Heavy Table’s writers, editors, and photographers have recently bitten or sipped. Have a suggestion for the Hot Five? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Hot Five is a weekly feature created by the Heavy Table and supported by Shepherd Song Farm.
Fried Catfish at A & J Fish and Chicken
File this one under “we didn’t see it coming.” One of our best bites from our most recent crawl down East Lake Street hails from the utterly unassuming A & J Fish and Chicken, which, as it turns out, does some of the best fried fish we’ve tried in the city. The catfish at A & J has the perfect level of crispy cornmeal crunch to the exterior, a moist and tender fish on the interior, and a classic presentation. “Catfish served with two slices of white bread in styrofoam the way nature intended,” as M.C. Cronin wrote in a recent Instagram post. Look for this in our next installment of the East Lake Checklist in a couple of weeks.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by James Norton and an Instagram post by M.C. Cronin]
New York Style Pizza from Broders’
Broders’ pizza brings back memories of the classic slice at the corner pizza parlor. The crust is bubbly and chewy but crisp on the bottom — never soggy in the center as fancier pizzas can be. The sauce is full of flavor, but well-balanced, keeping its garlic and salt in check. We’re always surprised at how thoroughly good this old-fashioned pie is.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by Jane Rosemarin]
Jerk Chicken at Mama Ann’s Soul Food
Mama Ann’s Soul Food (520 Rice St, St. Paul) has a genuine family-run feel, from the 8(ish)-year-old kid behind the counter to the fact that half the sides weren’t yet ready at lunchtime. The jerk chicken is excellent. It’s juicy as all get out, with a hint of smoke, a mildly lip-numbing heat, and a ton of flavor. The enormous portion of on-the-bone white and dark meat is served over rice and with two sides (definitely get the greens). It feels like a great bargain at $10.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by Ted Held]
Grisette Beer at Shakopee Brewhall
Shakopee Brewhall is the latest brewery to present a grisette, a traditional variation on the saison. The style, named for the gray uniforms of 18th-century working women on the France-Belgium border, is a lighter bodied variant of the better-known style, with yeast-derived flavors of citrus and spice. Shakopee Brewhall opened several weeks ago, and its Zephyr Grisette is wonderfully refreshing and widely appealing.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by Paige Latham Didora]
Chicken Pot Pie at Savory Bakehouse
There’s a reason that Savory Bakehouse makes our Hot Five almost every time we visit — the food is made by hand with love and skill, and that always comes through in the flavor. The Savory Bakehouse Pot Pie has a lovely rich gravy that plays beautifully with its flaky crust, which manages the heroic task of being both delicious and durable. Peas, potatoes, and pulled chicken make this a formidable match for our current bout of cold weather.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted from an Instagram post by James Norton]