Nothing says southern-style cooking like the word “fried.” And Southside 815 in Alexandria has got plenty of that — fried chicken, fried steak, fried pickles, fried green tomatoes and, well, it’s kind of got that Bubba-Gump-shrimp thing happening.
But who’s complaining?
For someone who was raised in southern Virginia, where the best things in life are fried, too many good things had been said about Southside’s Chicken Fried Steak ($13.95) for it to be wrong.
Rewind. Did someone say fried pickles?
For $5.25, something resembling a heart attack on a plate is actually a heaping mass of Southside’s “state fair pickles,” which are flash fried in southern breading and served with remoulade sauce for dipping. This is comfort food at its finest. Comparable to tartar sauce with a hit of curry, the remoulade was the dot to these pickles’ “i’s.” And the best part was it wasn’t some wimpy-sized platter for the small price. No, those calories were proud, unforgiving and plentiful.
Tongue-wagging cravings aside, the main attraction during this visit was the Chicken Fried Steak. Boasted on Chowhound.com message boards as the best local CFS, this Certified Black Angus sirloin can be found under the “Southern Classics” section of the menu, right where it belongs. Dusted in the restaurant’s southern breading, deep-fried and topped with country gravy, what’s more surprising are the sides’ ability to easily give the steak a run for its money. The mashed red-skin potatoes stand on their own sans gravy, and the stewed green beans with chunks of tomatoes hit the spot after a bite of steak and gravy.
With 15 different sandwiches to choose from, the Chesapeake Club ($9.50) is a steal. Deviled crab, grilled chicken breast, bacon, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise all come together here for a seaside spin on the traditional club. The crab was not only a nice touch flavor-wise but a much-appreciated break from the norm. And while the fries weren’t anything to write home about, those state fair pickles returned for an encore, this time seasoned in a light marinade and chilled for a perfect palate refresher at the end.
Not only is the food in point at Southside, but so is the layout of the restaurant. Walking in only to greeted by noisy — and that’s an understatement — Sunday football fans, it was assumed two people wouldn’t be able to hear one another in that mess. However, that’s not the case. Separated from the pigskin madness is a fairly secluded dining area (above) that, though close to the bar, blocks the hustle and bustle of the beer glass-clinking devoted. Those folks should keep in mind that Southside 815 has 13 TVs for those interested, with channels covering NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB games.
There’s also Raw Bar Wednesdays from 5 – 10:30 p.m., half-price Po’Boys all day every Monday, and even a live acoustic series every Tuesday night at 10 p.m. Southside’s serving up New Year’s Eve specials, with soup, entrée and dessert deals. More information can be found on its Web site (www.southside815.com).
So, whether it’s watching the game to get out of helping take down the Christmas décor (You did not hear this from me, fellas) or curiosity that has you too questioning the role of fried pickles in this world, answers — and solutions — can be found via Southside’s comfort-food spread.
815 S. Washington St., Alexandria, VA
www.southside815.com • 703-836-6222
Monday – Thursday, 11:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.; Friday – Saturday, 11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Sunday, 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Bar closes each day at 1:30 a.m.