Well kids, it has happened – the highly anticipated Sissy’s Southern Kitchen + Bar has opened up its doors on Henderson Avenue. At first glance, Sissy’s has essentially everything a food slut would like: a well established Dallas name behind the concept, a great location, interior decorations that would make Anthropoligie drop dead and above all else…FRIED CHICKEN. What could possibly go wrong right? Welp, we’re not so sure about that one. Reviewing the menu, there were so many things that made my soon-to-be clogged heart flutter with anticipation, I thought it would be damn near impossible to narrow down our order. So I did what any sane person would do…ordered everything. No, but really.
Ya- I said it, here is what a table of …. er, well, nevermind – nobody cares about those details anyway, right?…ordered:
Chile Fried Oysters
Shrimp & Grits
Bucket of Fried Chicken (which, I’ll note, came with Mashed Potatoes)
Over 21 Cookies & Milk
QUIT JUDGING ME!
Now, if you know me at all then you know that I really effing love apps. Appetizers usually mean unhealthy shit and the like, so duh, we ordered enough appetizers to murder my intestines with just one glance. All in the name of work right? I do this for you, people. Starting with the deviled eggs: meh. I had heard amazing things from my reliable friends that these were absolutely a must order. Now, I don’t know about you folk but I was poor growing up so deviled eggs were considered “fancy” and made an appearance at any family function/holiday gathering or otherwise special event…like a funeral. I understand that people say this all the time, but I am not a liar like the others so I’ll just continue, my Grandma really makes the best deviled eggs in the world. Sissy’s aint got SHIT on Virginia. Regardless of the fact that my Granny could be a deviled egg Michelin chef, I was not impressed with this rendition. Watery yolk piled sloppily into a horizontally cut (OK, I do love that) egg white and then topped with some caviar, which seems like nothing more than an afterthought. Sure, they photograph beautifully but I chalk that up to the photographer rather than the food. Let’s face it: Twinkies photograph wonderfully. Just sayin’. I will admit that I would be happy to try these out again in the hopes that the master deviled egg creator was off duty the day of my visit…but I highly doubt that was the problem. We moved on to the Squash Puppies, surely something that was going to make up for the Deviled Eggs, if for no other reason than the fact that they are fried. The Squash Puppies are essentially just hush puppies on steroids size-wise. These things are at least the size of golf ball, which my gluttonous face appreciated. Unfortunately, I find there are several better options when it comes to “puppies” in Dallas. It isn’t that the squash puppies were bad, but they weren’t particularly great either. The jalapeno jelly and honey butter that accompany the Squash Puppies are both equally delicious, however, and make up for what the puppy lacks. In all reality I would order the squash puppies just to indulge in the sauces. Better yet, I’d like to grab a bottle to keep at home to enjoy it on everything from scrambled eggs to shrimp. Next up were the Chili Fried Oysters. I have a love / hate relationship with oysters. I love them when they are good, I hate them when they are bad. Sissy’s Chili Fried Oysters are neither good or bad. Again, similar to the squash puppies – there wasn’t much of a taste to this appetizer. Although these oysters were nowhere near the worst in Dallas – ehem, I’m talking to YOU Commissary, I won’t be rushing to order them again. The oysters were over-breaded cornmeal nuggets that seemed to be provided flavor only by the delicious spicy mayo that it is accompanied with. Seeing as EVERYTHING we had consumed thus far in the meal was battered and fried and we were going to check out the chicken we decided to order a “light” entrée as well. Cue the Gulf Shrimp & Grits! Doesn’t this dish look FANTASTIC!?!?! Welp, it’s not. For anyone who has visited the Carolinas or anywhere else classified as the actual South, these Shrimp & Grits just don’t cut it. Sure, it could be the fact that when they came to our table everything on the plate was ice-cold. Naturally, we immediately sent the dish back and our adorable, retro-clad waitress apologized profusely. A scalding plate of the Gulf Shrimp N’ Grits arrived in the blink of an eye and all seemed well. The grits were decent but the shrimp itself could have used some seasoning and tasted like nothing more than boiled shrimp. This dish by no means deserves the “favorites star” that is posted up next to it on the menu. And then it happened…..the pearly gates of heaven opened up as I bit into the restaurant’s namesake, Sissy’s Fried Chicken. Holy %&$#! This chicken is so good it is almost as if the sins of the past dishes we had at Sissy’s disappeared…almost. Described as “house spiced, buttermilk soaked and pressure fried,” the bucket of chicken that lay before me didn’t stand a chance. The masterminds over at Sissy’s found the perfect combination of a masterfully crafted crunchy crust while keeping the meat inexplicably moist. The meat falls right of the bone and it is clear that this is the restaurants’ pride and joy – it’s mine too. This may be a bold statement after the shit you just read regarding the other dishes but: Sissy’s fried chicken is 100% in my list of top 10 must-eat foods in this great city of ours. You can order dark meat, white meat or a mixture of the two but beware, if you choose only white meat there is an up charge of $6. Ridiculous given the fact that the bucket of chicken already costs $20? Absolutely. It would be nice if that fact was on the menu so we didn’t feel like shell-shocked assholes when our waitress informed us of that little gem. Let’s be honest though – this chicken is so damn good, it is easy to drown out the fact that your wallet is left screaming.
A 10 piece bucket of chicken is paired with your choice of coleslaw or mashed potatoes. Personally, I believe there is nothing better than fried chicken and mashed potatoes so if we were going to do it right, we had to go that way. The mashed potatoes are out of this world. Skin-on potatoes mashed to only slightly resemble their lumpy selves are sure to make anyone go back for seconds. Naturally, no fried chicken meal would be complete without okra and biscuits and luckily Sissy’s delivered. The view of a bucket of chicken, mashed potaters, cream biscuits and fried okra at our table seemed to round off our uber-healthy dinner nicely. The biscuits were rather disappointing, so dry they left nothing but the urge to chug my sweet tea down to the last drop. It would have been ideal if the biscuits were served with a side of honey and surely next time I will be ordering a side of it if I forget to smuggle my own biscuits into Sissy’s.
On the other hand, the fried okra was out of control with its delicious-ness. The okra is cut lengthwise, offering the full meat of the vegetable to your taste buds. It seemed as though the same cornmeal breading that was overly used on the oysters graced the okra with its presence as well, however, this time it was the perfect amount. The okra was paired with an earlier favorite, the delicious spicy mayo which gave those of us wishing for an extra punch of flavor the opportunity to get it. Why stop there? Sure we had all easily gained 5lbs in nothing but grease at this point but we had to finish off the meal right…right? Traditional Southern desserts line the menu, making it hard to choose between the mouth-watering creations. Seeing as we were clearly on a diet, we had to decide on just one to share for the table – the Over 21 Milk & Cookies. A few homemade cookies of the day paired with brandy milk punch may be my new favorite nightcap. Although, it would have been nice if our server had let us know what the cookie of the day actually was prior to ordering it, I don’t discriminate when it comes to sweets so the chocolate chip pecan was just fine. The cookie’s are served warm with an ooey-gooey center that is sure to make you feel like a kid again…er, a kid that drinks. The Bourbon Milk punch was rockin’ and could easily open up room for a blackout session if a few more had been consumed. The only downside to this drink was the giant ice cubes that took away alcohol space filed the glass. In the wise words of my table mate, “when you serve drinks in these tiny glasses with these big ass ice cubes it feels like a ripoff – I can’t even take a mouthful of it.” Who wants to leisurely sip a cocktail anyway?
So there you have it folks, the Oh Hey Dallas experience of Sissy’s Southern Kitchen + Bar. If you’re smart and go in simply for the fried chicken, maybe a few sides, a dessert and Sissy’s will soon become one of your regular and most favorite jaunts. Don’t waste your time with the other dishes that, compared to the outstanding items, seem like nothing more than menu fillers. Be prepared for a charming experience filled with “bless your hearts” and “darlins” as you escape to a restaurant filled with Southern hospitality.