BEST GREENS Phoenix 2006 - Memphx Cafe
Dammit, we know our gol-darn greens! We've spent many years in the Deep South. We've dined repeatedly at the (sadly) now-closed Stacy's soul food restaurant, as well as Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe and Lo-Lo's Chicken and Waffles, in Phoenix. We've even brunched at Roscoe's over in La-La Land. All of them do, or did (in Stacy's case), a mean plate of collards. But the recently remodeled joint on Indian School Road, just west of the 51, called Memphx has the best greens we've ever tasted anywhere. The owners, who hail from (you guessed it) Memphis, Tennessee, and right here in Phoenix (MEM-PHX), are on their way to turning their place into the best soul food restaurant in the area. Now, we weren't too fond of their concept of putting fried chicken and catfish into taco shells (guys, you're taking the Memphx thing too far!), but we'd go back again and again just for the greens with ample smoked turkey mixed in. There's obviously a secret ingredient, but the cook admits that she uses not just collard greens, but turnip and mustard greens as well. She substitutes the ham hocks that would be used in the Deep South with the smoked turkey (it's an obvious sop to health nuts, but you can't tell the difference ? really). She admits that she seasons the concoction with garlic and jalape?os, but will reveal nothing else. If you go there, ask for a double order of the greens (one order's just $1.75), and an order of Memphx's hushpuppies. For the uninitiated, a hushpuppy's a ball of fried cornbread ? so named because at fish fries in the South, bits of the cornmeal batter from the catfish would be scooped out of the deep fryer, cooled and thrown to the begging yard dogs, with the admonition: "Hush, puppy!" As for us, we can't stop talking about these greens.