REVIEW: COTTON PATCH CAFE

10 Dec

 COTTON PATCH CAFE has grown steady since that first store in Nacogdoches back in 1989.   In fact, a new location has just popped up in the Arlington Highlands and since opening day it’s been pretty packed.

As you could expect it’s a southern style comfort food restaurant.   I think many would instantly compare it to The Black-eyed Pea.  Before visiting this new location I would’ve agreed but the decor and atmosphere of this spot is very nice and slick.

You won’t find old wagon wheels or some other brick-a-brack that some restaurants use to make it feel their place feel like an ol’ timey barn or something just as kitschy.  This joint is laying on the classy vibe.   I dig it.

Great bar area when you walk in and the dining room is large with a view of the kitchen.   There were LOADS of servers and extra help.   This turned out to NOT work out in our favor.   It was lunchtime and they were filling up fast but it wasn’t THAT busy when we were there.   Our server was fantastic and friendly BUT she was triple sat and one table nearby was dragging out everything they possibly could.

I noticed that in other areas the servers were getting help.  Our server was not getting ANY help for some reason.  This meant it took forever to order, get drinks,food,and finally a check.   This was NOT the fault of our server.  They were doing a good job and was just overwhelmed.

While waiting for the check our table had no less than three helpers/servers/managers? that asked if we would like a refill on our drinks or some more table bread.  As we had already finished eating it seemed like the help was just too little too late.  Where was this cracked team of do-gooders when I waited 14 minutes for my beverage to arrive?

I am going to chalk this up to “bugs” that always need to be worked out of new restaurants when they first open.  Everyone is learning the ropes and I understand that.

One thing that seemed ODD-  The menu states that they have DAILY SPECIALS.  But they only list Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday as days with a special.   Are Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday no longer considered days?  Nobody told me!

We ordered Chicken Fingers and Chicken and Dumplings.   Two more southern comfort foods I can’t imagine.  While waiting for our food I spotted the next table over had Chicken Fried Chicken which looked AMAZING and will be what I try next time.   Maybe in a couple of months when the “new” wears off the joint and everyone can work as a team.

The Chicken and Dumplings were very very good.  Tender chunks of chicken and the dumplings were perfect.  The two sides of green beans and black-eyed peas were hot and as fresh as I’ve ever had.

The Chicken Tenders were surprisingly good.   I was expecting your generic frozen chicken strips with some gravy.  These tasted more like fresh strips of chicken that had been slightly battered and pan fried.  Not greasy but very tasty and tender as well.

Both dishes were home runs but the closer – the Banana Pudding – was incredible.   Even though I tasted only one actual bite of banana in the entire dish it was splendid.

Even though I am a fan of The Black-eyed Pea, I really think this new Cotton Patch Cafe will give Pea a run for it’s money.  It’s a nicer atmosphere and the food is very good.   I think in terms of who benefits… we, the eaters, are the winners here!

So go check them out for yourselves and report back!  You can also join the conversation at http://www.urbanspoon.com.

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