My buddy Sherrel and I had planned for several days on going to lunch together. I figured we’d just hit someplace close to work, but when the day came he announced that he wanted to visit another Indianapolis fried-chicken joint. The Kountry Kitchen is a soul-food restaurant on Indianapolis’s Near Northside, at 1831 North College Ave. (Because Sherrel sprang this on me I didn’t bring my good camera, so I apologize for the low-fi cell phone shots!)
This is not the most genteel of neighborhoods. Preservation efforts are underway on at least one nearby College Ave. home, however, so perhaps the area will soon undergo a renaissance. If so, hopefully that renewal won’t chase away businesses such as this one.
Kountry Kitchen’s building isn’t particularly inviting, and the entry area was Spartan with uneven floors. But as the hostess bid us seat ourselves, all became well as we passed back into the large, plainly decorated but brightly lit dining area. It was nearly full. The waitress came immediately. I asked for unsweetened iced tea, which came directly in this unusual but charming little jar.
We both ordered the two-piece dark meal, which came with two sides and a choice of cornbread. I chose the sides that just seem natural to me with fried chicken: green beans and mashed potatoes with gravy. I also chose the fried cornbread, which looked for all the world like a pancake. Sherrel ordered mashed potatoes too, but also macaroni and cheese, with his chicken.
The generously sized leg and thigh arrived connected, well coated without being overcoated. The coating was mildly seasoned and I detected a hint of pepper, which I liked. The chicken within was a touch dry and was not seasoned, so clearly the Kountry Kitchen relies on the coating to carry flavor. The cornbread pancake was not sweet; it had a mild corn flavor but was dry. Sherrel said that his cornbread square was moist and mildly sweet.
Where my meal really shone was in the sides. The green beans came from a can, but were firm and fully, deliciously seasoned without being overly fatty. I could have eaten two more helpings, they were so good. The mashed potatoes were real and dense and full of good potato flavor, with bits of skin and tiny potato chunks to create texture. They would have been plenty good alone, but the the gravy, which was full of flavor and had just the right level of saltiness, made them great. Sherrel was lukewarm about his macaroni and cheese, though.
I managed to misplace my receipt, but I think lunch cost me maybe $10, which is reasonable for the amount and quality of food we received. I don’t get that far down on College Ave. very often, but the next time I do, I’ll try to arrange for it to happen near lunchtime so I can visit Kountry Kitchen again.
Another Indianapolis soul-food restaurant we visited on our tour was Mississippi Belle. Check out my review of their fried chicken.