No Surprise on the Catfish, but the green beans…

What is there not to love about the diversity of Las Vegas?  There’s even a place you can go to experience some  authentic southern-style cooking!

Inside the Hawaiian Marketplace (which, to be honest, sells more Elvis tchotskes than actual souvenirs from the Aloha state) along Las Vegas Boulevard, you will find an alley. Not just an ordinary alley — the Catfish Alley. Famous for its southern-style menu consisting of mostly catfish and breaded accompaniments, one experiences something else — southern hospitality. Management and staff are extremely friendly, greeting guests as well as regulars with a big smile and a warm, welcoming attitude.

I love catfish and it was the sole motivation for me to take a break from the hotel and convention atmosphere to drive a few blocks to this semi-hidden place.  I would have walked of course, but with  100-degree weather? Don’t think so.

I ordered one of their combo meals of fried catfish and a choice of boiled greens and breaded okra, along with a couple of hush puppies (a delicious fried cornmeal concoction).

There wasn’t any surprises about the catfish.  It was crispy but not oily on the outside, juicy and flaky  inside which is how I like my fried catfish.  The cajun-style breading wasn’t spicy as one might expect, but it worked well for me.  The fried and breaded okra was a little on the bland side, but dipping it in the creamy sauce that came with the catfish did the trick. I would have asked for steamed okra instead, if they had that option. And I would have wanted my boiled greens less cooked, but I liked its vinegary flavor.

Halfway into my meal, the owner approached customer tables with complimentary, freshly-cooked breaded green bean sticks. It made the meal all the more worthwhile . They were crispy on the outside,  fresh and juicy inside. I don’t remember seeing it on their menu board –or if it was even on there–  but on my next visit to Catfish Alley, I definitely know what to order with my catfish.  If it’s not on their regular menu, I’m sure I could hastily sneak  into the kitchen or the owner’s station to make the special request.  After all, we’re talking about southern hospitality. It’s their pleasure to please. . .

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