Lemon pepper chicken tenders and sides from Superior Soul Food
In search of soul food, I found myself parking in a dark corner of Logan Heights. There were no streetlamps, only the flash of headlights speeding onto the freeway onramp at the end of the block. A photo texted to my phone confirmed I was at the right place: a large blue house, split into apartments (722 South Evans Street, Logan Heights).
Out of one of those apartments, a former Navy chef cooks up the menu of Superior Soul Food. It sprung up in June, a pandemic-born business set up as a ghost kitchen: you order food first online, then have it delivered. Or, as I did, drive over to Logan Heights for curbside pickup.
And I would do it again. The menu is set up as plates built around a choice of fried entrees and southern comfort side dishes. Fried chicken tenders or chicken wings are $12 with two sides and cornbread, while catfish with one side runs $15.
You can get the chicken options straight up, or flavored with the likes of BBQ sauce, buffalo sauce, or Slap Ya Mama, a Cajun hot pepper sauce. I’ve been feeling the burn of Nashville hot chicken all year, so I went for a refreshing alternative that seems to be most popular among Superior Soul Food’s fanbase: lemon pepper chicken tenders.
The site of a cottage license ghost kitchen operating in Logan Heights
Best decision I made all week, including election day. The citrus and salt smothering those lightly breaded tenders found their way into every crease of my mouth, bright and peppery over a deep umami savor. It’s the kind of dish you just want to keep eating.
But I did have to put my chicken down to enjoy the sides. These go 4 or 5 bucks apiece, or two with the Build a Plate chicken option. I chose the excellent collard greens and a spicy red beans and rice mixed together with slices of hot dog. For $5, I added mac and cheese to satisfy my perpetual need for it. All were super satisfying. A fourth side, candied yams, can wait for next time.
From a storyteller’s perspective, I would love to see Superior Soul Food to evolve into a more traditional restaurant after the pandemic. Though I’m not sure it has to. Take-out and delivery remain my preference whatever the legal status of indoor dining happens to be in the state and county. As long as I can take home a meal like this, out of a residential neighborhood or otherwise, for under 20 dollars, the guys behind this business might as well continue to work from home. It’s certainly a perk I enjoy.