Friday, March 09, 2007

The Real Deal

"Ya'all come back now, y'hear?" While they never actually said this during my visits to FDR, it certainly wouldn't have been out of place. Food Done Right has been slinging down-home food since late 2004, all served up with a dose of Southern sass and good-natured charm.

I'd first noticed the restaurant last year, and only because I had to park right in front of it to get to the supermarket. Stepping up onto the curb, I suddenly realized the mirrored corner windows seemed to house... a restaurant?

Later that week, I returned with my husband, Dave, for breakfast. The food was simple, hearty fare. Tender homemade biscuits ($1.00). Sausage & gravy ($4.95, with biscuits) that could make you scream for mercy, and not in a bad way. Simple eggs, bacon & toast ($5.95), if early morning shrieking wasn't your thing. Even the home fries could sneak in a slowly-rising, long-maintained smile. I began to feel like I was sitting in my Mammaw's kitchen for some serious, post-churchin' chowin' down. Service was alternately friendly and harried, depending upon the crowd, but always sincere. Countless months passed as, yet again, Dave and I strolled out slowly, toothpicks rotating between upwardly-curved lips.

Now, that's not to say there's only breakfast here. There are also mid-day and evening entrees, which differ only in portions. Take heart- they are serious when saying homestyle entrees come sized to feed the family.

Seafood is a favorite of mine, so I wasted no time in exploring their locally-sourced offerings. Crab cakes ($8.95) come grilled or fried; I'll go for the latter every time. Spicy, zingy, and overflowing with lump crab, it's a scrumptious little reminder of why it's great to live here in Tidewater. While their fried scallops ($15.95) tend to get lost under the thick, heavy breading, the oysters ($15.95) are another bivalve entirely. I popped one into my mouth, and the delicate coating was just the right contrast to the wonderful, ocean-laced brine. Like biting into the sea, but breaded and perfectly fried, this was the consummate specimen of oysterdom. Well done.

Country-fried steak ($8.95) turned out to be another gullet-pleaser. Not too heavy, if you can imagine such a thing, even though it came laden with peppery white gravy. Fried chicken ($9.95), on the other hand, was fried a bit much, and came out dry both times I tried it. That's okay, because FDR redeems themselves with some exquisitely mashed potatoes ($1.55). Take your choice of gravies, light or dark; both are excellent.

Soups, salads, and sandwiches are also on the menu. The barbecue sandwich ($7.95) is North Carolina-style 'cue, but strictly standard fare. No smoke, and it arrived on the bun naked and rather dry- a request for additional vinegar sauce solved that nicely. Clam chowder ($6.95, with 1/2 sandwich) comes thick and creamy, studded liberally with hearty chunks of clam. A side of coleslaw turned out to be the perfect palate-cleanser, light and refreshing in taste and texture.

FDR sits tucked into a quiet corner, next to Farm Fresh, and adjacent to Home Depot: new clapboard signage should help you spot it. The interior is simple, clean, and well-lit. Booths and free-standing tables abound, while crafty country collections decorate corner bookcases. While they may not hit a homer on every entree or side, FDR is what they advertise: simple, unpretentious food, cooked up right by real folk.


Post a Comment

<< Home