P& P Soul Food is a small, over-the-counter joint that's geared for takeout and delivery but has four well spaced tables for dining in. The walls are bright yellow and bare; the menu is printed on paper and possibly subject to change—on my visit beef ribs were a special. As with many soul food joints, there's no smoker. Meats are cooked via grill or fryer.
The P&P menu has many of the soul food classics: ribs, chicken, smothered pork chops, tilapia, whiting, catfish, a ribs and chicken combo, a catfish and wings combo, hamburgers and cheeseburgers. Meats can be had smothered, fried or BBQ (grilled/sauced). Sides include the requisite candied yams, collards, cabbage and fried okra. A few Cape Verdean dishes (that's where the better half of the ownership couple hails from) round out the menu, featuring several additional seafood options.
I checked out P& P Soul Food for a Saturday afternoon lunch with an aggressive ordering barbecue bud.
Fried chicken wings: An octet of wing pieces ($10 with 2 sides) delivered extra crunchy skins
with light, subtle seasoning. Below the surface, hot moist chicken meat
slid easily off the bone. I'm more into a more heavily seasoned
product, but the cooking and texture were spot on.
Beef ribs: A half rack of back ribs (around $13 a la carte) packed a styrofoam container with six back ribs about six inches long, with a thin barbecue sauce achieving complete coverage while still preserving a crusty exterior. These were grilled, not smoked, and unlike many soul food renditions, not stewed in sauce before or after to soften them up. This yielded a toothsome texture requiring a little effort to get the meat off the bone. Some pieces required a little more than a little effort. Nonexistent fat meant neither trimming nor careful biting navigation was necessary. Flavor had that old school "backyard barbecue" vibe that blends char and barbecue sauce. Overall, not a destination-worthy rendition and certainly not slow-smoked barbecue, but not a bad way to fill up when hungry.
Pork ribs: A half dozen meaty full cut spares ($16 with cornbread and two sides)
stretched nearly the length of the styrofoam container. Saucing (tangy),
flavor (grilly, not smoky) and texture mostly matched the beef ribs,
but the slightly firm pork only required a little tug instead of the
beef's ferocious yank. Moisture seemed decent, even borderline juicy,
but with the saucing it was hard to tell for sure. Meaty, grilly, wet
and tangy summed up a mildly successful if not-quite-barbecue batch of
There's no sauce on the tables and no sauce choices, but the ribs arrive sauced enough that you wouldn't need any extra. The house sauce is a tangy tomato based version that's similar to store-bought but a little thinner, allowing good coverage without completely dominating the meat.
Collard greens: Not the slightest but dry, but not immersed or well coated with liquid like most, these had a straightforward vegetable flavor with minimal seasoning.
Fried okra: The batter on these was light, as was the still-noticeable salting, letting the moist okra shine through. These had more give than crunch.
Mac and cheese: Occupying a mid ground between the tight Southern style and the loose and creamy kids' favorite, this baked version was also halfway between mild and sharp.
Potato salad: This one was loose, with a tangy mayo kicked up with hard boiled egg. If you like egg salad and don't mind lots of mayo, you'll love this one. If not, consider yourself warned.
Cornbread: Cakey, fluffy and a little dry.
Four words: big portions, nice people.
The Bottom Line
P&P is not exactly barbecue, and I can think of a few other soul food joints that have displayed a little more wow factor, but it's not exactly bad. This is simple, honest cooking that fills the belly with minimal investment. Not worth a drive, but if you're already around it's worth a look.
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