This is It is the best known purveyor of soul food in town. It’s popular at lunchtime with many casual soul food fans from the nearby office towers, while the soul food diehards are present at both lunch and dinner. This is It has been around in the Fourth Ward since 1959. Incredibly, the menu is almost unchanged since it opened (sans the prices, of course). The old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” certainly applies here.
For lunch and dinner there are typically seven different entrees and a half-dozen side dishes each day. Service is cafeteria style. For one price you get a choice of one entrée, three side dishes and cornbread. The portions are generous; the calories-per-cent value is quite high here. The selections for the main dishes include most of the soul food specialties.
These include oxtails, pepper steak, chitterlings (every day but Monday), baked and smothered chicken, meatballs, chicken and dumplings, pork chops, ham hocks, turkey wings, and barbecued rib ends. The oxtails, large and meaty, are especially satisfying (it’s just beef, for the uninitiated). The smothered chicken is also appetizing. The menu is different each day of the week. Seafood gumbo and fried catfish are served on Fridays. The sides offered on a rotating basis are candied yams, rice, black-eyed peas, cabbage, pinto beans, string beans, mashed potatoes, dirty rice and macaroni and cheese. The mashed potatoes are good, very whipped and smooth. The candied yams are very candied. So much so, they are almost glistening with sugar. The green beans and the greens are expectedly cooked in the Southern fashion, to within almost an inch of their usefulness.
After the hearty entree and side, if you still have room, there are also some tempting desserts. These are baked on site and include a delicious peach cobbler and a choice of moist and rich cakes.
Unlike lunch and dinner, breakfast is cooked to order. All of the fat and cholesterol-laden specialties that you might expect are offered. These are all usually quite pleasing, and a nice value, especially when you consider the amount of food. This is It also caters. Fried turkeys are among the popular catering options.
This is It
2712 Blodgett St., Houston, Tx. 77004
(713) 521- 2920
Copyright Mike Riccetti. Adapted from Houston Dining on the Cheap, and used with permission.
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