The cafe's comfortable interior includes booths, a six-seat bar, a chalkboard with specials, and Fiberglass fish mounted on the walls.
“Dear Lord. Don’t let me obsessively return to Soul Fish Café for baskets of fried pickled green tomatoes. Please save me from myself.”
So went the prayer I muttered last night when leaving the new Soul Fish on Poplar Avenue in East Memphis. Will my plea work? Probably not, as the tomatoes combine pickled bite and crispy crunch to shape a perfect union of sweet and savory. Plus, the restaurant serves excellent housemade remoulade on the side for dunking.
While I’ve eaten many Soul Fish dishes, I’d missed the pickled twist until stopping by the new location Thursday seven hours after its official opening. Already, the place was busy, the service was professional, and the kitchen was turning out its signature mix of po’boys, tacos, and fish baskets, grilled, blackened, or fried. The daily blackboard specials included Idaho rainbow trout, along with signature cakes by the slice from Frost bakery.
Under construction since last summer, the new restaurant is located in the former Wolf Camera building near Sekisui Pacific Rim. Little of the former tenant remains except for its parking configuration. Customers eating in the restaurant park in the back and enter through a side entrance near the former store’s drive-through window. Customers picking up to-go orders can park out front.
Inside, booths line windowed walls, tables for four and six fill the floor, and a bar stretches along the back near the entrance to the kitchen. The space feels like a diner from the ‘60s updated with polished cement floors and bold signage. On the walls, large Fiberglass fish keep sentry. They are a little intimidating, but very cool.
Along with the green tomatoes, we tried a vegetable plate (the roasted carrots and Cajun cabbage were particularly good) and grilled catfish tacos served with pico de gallo and guacamole. A word of warning on the tacos: They are wrapped in large flour tortillas in the manner of burritos, which is too hybrid-Tex-Mex for me. So after fussing a bit, I ate the dressed-up catfish with a fork. It was still good.
With no liquor license for another 10 days, the restaurant is dry except for tea, coffee, sodas, and water with fresh lemon. For now, diners can bring their own wine and drink with no cork fee.
Soul Fish Café, 4720 Poplar Ave.