One can find heaven in the oddest of places. That may be a strange way to begin a cuisine review, but stay with me. I first heard of Soul Heaven from my part-time bestie and part-time dog sitter Courtney who had never set foot in the place. She can’t even remember how she heard of it, has no idea why she would suggest I go there, but was called to do so. I can only guess I was standing at the Texaco station across from Gulf Distributing on Moffett Road because of some providential force.
She had mentioned the place a couple of times. I had rolled my eyes and been dismissive. But on a return trip from an icy Jackson, Mississippi gig via Hattiesburg I was moved to pull my lush, packed-to-the-gills-with-sound-equipment Dodge Caravan into the unassuming parking lot for a hot meal.
Soul Heaven was about as clean as clean can be. The place looked immaculate, and the small amount of tables suggests more people carry out than dine in. Though the menu is outrageously huge, I was acutely aware that on this day it was my soul that needed nourishment. That’s where the daily specials come into play. The only trouble was making up my mind.
On any given day I would have walked out of that place full as a tick with a tab under seven bucks, but that won’t do for a review, right? I decided that despite flying solo I would order for three, have lunch and dinner taken care of, and someone else would help me eat the rest.
The lunch specials were a very affordable $6.99 and included meat and two sides. I was the kid in the metaphorical candy store. Here is how it played out.
My First Act began with a healthier spin on what one might call “soul food.” I couldn’t resist grilled fish. Seasoned perfectly with sliced lemons, I was immediately impressed. What kind of fish was it? I don’t know and I don’t care. Good fish is the best answer. Perhaps filet of “soul.”
A great accompaniment to the fish was the vegetable medley. Broccoli, green beans, wax beans, carrots, squash and bits of red bell pepper were steamed tender and loaded with butter. I was crazy about it. A weird choice for a second side order for fish is red beans and rice. It wasn’t even Monday, but I had to give you the low down on this staple. The verdict is it was loaded with sausage and flavor. I don’t know if I can commit to calling it the best in town, but I will at least say it’s one of the best.
In Act II my soul ventured down a path that was a bit darker. Smothered chicken was a must. The nice lady taking my order explained they charge a little extra for white meat. I replied, “You should charge more for dark meat. Who’s going to get smothered white meat chicken?”
My nickname in college was Dark Meat, so I had no choice. The gravy on this chicken was as divine as the name of the restaurant, and the meat was perfect. I ordered my red skinned mashed potatoes dry and the broccoli casserole was a page torn from an old school cookbook with rice and cheese.
Act III found me spiraling down the darker caverns of culinary delight. Imagine my joy when my hostess confirmed there were chicken livers on the premises. When it comes to dark there is no darker meat than the liver. I consider myself a chicken liver aficionado. Miss Karen from Butch Cassidy’s hooks me up when she knows I’m coming. But these livers at Soul Heaven are as good as any I’ve had.
I saw no problem enjoying them dry. But when I went through the ceremony of mixing my hot sauce and ketchup, the livers appreciated me putting forth the extra effort. Who has room for plain green beans and baked macaroni and cheese? I still had to try them, and yes, they tasted exactly how you are thinking.
It seems as though Soul Heaven is doing just about everything including breakfast. Chicken and waffles, steak and cheese omelets, fish and grits, and salmon patties are at home next to regular breakfast fare of pancakes and cinnamon rolls plus a daily breakfast special. I can’t wait to see what Monday’s breakfast eggroll is all about and what constitutes Thursday’s breakfast rice.
The regular lunch menu includes salads, soup, sandwiches, burgers, wings, and (gasp) pizza. Soul pizza? I guess these guys are doing everything. That normally scares me to see so much on one menu, but so far everything they have done for me has been executed flawlessly. Are you ready for the kicker? They also cater.
Restaurant hours are Saturday, 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. through 5 p.m. and Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. Yes, Heaven can be found in the oddest of places. You’ll find this slice of Heaven right off the tracks at I-65. I have a lot more menu to cover. I’ll see you there.
Soul Heaven Café
3365 Moffett Rd., Suite A
Mobile, AL 36607