I had a hankering for catfish and french fries, so the hubby and I decided to stop in and try Walton’s Southern Table. I figured when your name includes “Southern”, your menu will include catfish and fries. I was sort of right.
The restaurant was hopping on a Friday night, but we were still able to be seated immediately. Our server took our drink orders and left us to peruse the menu. Surprisingly, the menu was a single sided sheet of offerings. (Perhaps because the last occupant of the building was Ruby Tuesday’s, I’d expected a fuller menu.) I quickly honed in on the Fried Catfish (hooray!) and started scanning the sides list for french fries. It was only after my second or third pass, when I slowed down enough to read every line item that I realized, they did not offer fries. I was rather flabbergasted. I settled for selecting mashed potatoes with gravy as a stand-in, but, really? No french fries? Since I was opting for the two side plate (there was also a three side version), I also selected macaroni and cheese. The catfish plate came with hushpuppies instead of cornbread or a roll like the other entrees and I decided to keep those.
My husband as chose a two side plate–Southern Fried Chicken with hasbrown casserole, macaroni and cheese, and corn bread.
As we waited for our food to come up, I scoped out the decor. The layout was very nooky, with dividers between every few tables, creating a bit of a labyrinth for the servers. Happily though, the dividers acted to keep the noise levels down and despite the restaurant being full, it felt intimate. Some dividers were matched with low hanging partitions from the ceiling which also assisted in breaking things up.
Exposed brick walls were paired with wallpaper. Silver plates hung in an arrangement above our table and at the back of the restaurants was a large piece of glass art which reminded me of cabbage leaves. (I’m sure it has a much more esoteric meaning, but…mostly I got cabbage leaves. Maybe water lilies. See how I put that Art Minor to good use in my daily life?)
Our chairs were well padded and comfortable, though it was cold enough outside that we were getting a chilly draft from the window. Our server was on the ball, returning promptly and with the kind of prescient awareness that ensures you never have an empty glass or unmet need.
When our plates arrived, my husband and I looked at each other in confusion and then back up at the runner who had brought it out. My plate had cabbage instead of macaroni and cheese. My husband’s plate had two sides of hashbrown casserole. We explained the error and the runner gathered the plates back up and headed back to the kitchen. After a few minutes he reappeared with the same plates, minus the erroneous sides and told us that the correct macaroni and cheese sides would follow. Which they did, almost immediately, brought by our server who was apologetic.
With our entire meals now present, we dug in. I started first with the wayward macaroni and cheese. (My meal is shown at the top of this post)
And…it was interesting. It was like someone had described macaroni and cheese to a chef who had never tasted the dish and in their description they over emphasized the “creamy” and didn’t really emphasize the “cheesey”. Because the final product was so creamy and thick that it was starting to veer into gluey. The sauce had a plasticky mouth feel and very little cheesy flavor. The pasta was a spiral noodle which was a fun choice and appeared to be well cooked, but the sauce’s texture so strongly overrode that of the pasta, that it’s hard to be certain.
My grudgingly ordered mashed potatoes though, were at the other end of the scale. Made with red potatoes, with bits of skin still left in, they were richly buttery and topped with a delicious and peppery gravy. I could have easily made a meal of just these potatoes.
The hushpuppies featured a crunchy exterior, and a soft interior with a kick from cayenne pepper. Which seemed a bit bold for hushpuppies. The kick hit a bit later, so it was easy to get a couple bites in and then be wondering what happened.
My catfish had arrived without tartar sauce, but upon request a cup was brought out. This was another head scratching moment…I’ve rarely seen fried catfish served without tartar sauce. My catfish consisted of 4 small fillets, each breaded with a crunchy cornmeal breading. The fish itself was moist and tender with just a hint of a fishy taste. The tartar sauce itself was…strange. Usually a basic tartar sauce involves mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish and lemon juice. This one seemed to involve mayonnaise and…more cayenne pepper? It didn’t have the rich full-body of a high quality mayonnaise, so instead it was okay mayonnaise with a bit of an after burn. There might have been some vinegar in there as well, as my first few tastes were strongly acidic.
The hubby’s chicken was moist and of good quality but a little overcooked on the exterior. Like me, he was also disappointed in the lack of cheesiness in his macaroni and cheese. His hashbrown casserole was a little overly buttered, but he enjoyed his cornbread which was flaky and flavorful.
Both my husband and I were impressed by the service. Our server was prompt and courteous and the restaurant was well staffed for the Friday night rush. However, neither of us was bowled over by the food. If you are looking for a meat and three style meal but want a sit down atmosphere and dinner hours, then Walton’s may be a good compromise. However, if you are willing to have a rough-around-the-edges setting (or really want french fries!), there are other spots in town I would head to first.
Total for the meal: $23.87 (included two 2 side plates and two soft drinks)