, ,

After a short hiatus, the bros ventured over to the newly opened Saw’s Soul Kitchen in Avondale. It’s so new that there is no proper outside signage, so good luck finding it.

Brad: See, Saw’s is a BBQ joint located in the Avondale neighborhood. I have previously eaten at the original location, in Homewood, on a business meeting. While trying to ingest half a chicken and sides while engaging in sales talks is by no means ideal, the unique white barbecue sauce that complemented my meal was a welcome accessory to my would-be indigestion, and was something I looked forward to on this week’s trip. Upon entering the new location, I realized that the half-chicken option was not available. While my gut – and later, bowels – would thank me, I was still crestfallen in that I was craving the white sauce (content removed by editor) and the entree I had looked forward to all week was MIA. I did find a smoked chicken sandwich, though, complete with sauce, that appealed to me almost instantly. While set on this entree, I became indecisive while watching other folks get served. And if BBQ was a dance competition, Saw’s would do exactly that to its competitors, IF the judging was on looks alone. I immediately felt orderers remorse but stuck to my guns. While filling, the sandwich was somewhat bland. The onion rings were a nice touch, but only when I added them to the bun did any sort of flavor come forth. I also had a pair of deviled eggs. That’s the end of that sentence.
Saw’s has been delicious before, and, while not this time, I feel any of the other BLC members’ entrees would have been as satisfying as my previous visit. It’s a bit pricey ($13 for my sandwich, 2 sides and drink), but worth another trip. Give it a hack! OVERALL RATING: 3.5 out of 5 BROS

GREG: After a 2 week hiatus, the BLC returned at full strength to enjoy some BBQ. After studying the menu beforehand on the internets, I was prepared to get a nice pulled pork sandwich. Once we arrived, I saw the daily special of a fried chicken salad sandwich. As readers of the blog can attest, I love chicken salad. Never in my life have I heard of a fried chicken salad sandwich. The chef/owner got excited when I ordered it and said it would be delish. I got that with some fries and cheese grits. Seating in the restaurant is limited. I counted 7 tables, and each was full even as we ordered a little after 1 pm. Luckily, we were able to secure a table at the conclusion of the ordering process. The Diet Coke was out and I heard the Coke tasted funny. I settled on root beer, which was fine. The food came out in a timely manner. I discovered that fried chicken salad looks a lot like a crab cake. Conceptually, the sandwich was great and cooked perfectly. Fried golden brown and hanging over the bread, there was enough droppings for all the bros to sample. The actual chicken salad lacked something in terms of spice and flavor, but this detail was small. Adding some kind of unique spice would really set this sandwich off. The fries were the perfect temperature and crispy. As for the cheese grits, I wasn’t too impressed. They weren’t overly cheesy, but the texture of the grits was very nice. All in all, I was very impressed with this establishment. While it felt authentic on the inside, it also felt very clean and sterile. There were good jams playing in the background as well as a TV with sports highlights. I will definitely return here to try other items on the menu. Overall Rating: 4 Bros out of 5

JOEY: I found Saw’s Soul Kitchen, but their lack of outside signage does not make it seem like they want everyone to know about it. This hasn’t stopped other people from finding out about it as Saw’s small dining area was completely full when we arrived for a late lunch at 1. I’ve been before at noon and there was a line stretching out the door. I can’t imagine the line if Saw’s was trying to attract customers. A nice woman wearing a t-shirt with the neighboring Avondale Brewing Company logo recommended the short rib sandwich to me. She said she ate there everyday, so I took her advice and ordered the short rib sandwich despite not even knowing what short ribs are. I still don’t! Getting a table at lunchtime at Saw’s is as difficult to manage as getting one at the finest restaurants in New York. Different circumstances, but same limited availability. But we were lucky and grabbed one from a departing businessman.

The short rib sandwich was the nicest meal I’ve had served on a Styrofoam plate. It was a pretty tasty sandwich, your traditional hunk of short rib (I think) topped with a horseradish sauce. The potato salad was decent, but I’d probably get the fries or onion rings when I return. I’ve learned on this blogging adventure that I’m quite the Coke snob and because of that I noticed the Coke here was a little flat. Saw’s Soul Kitchen would make a great place to order takeout if you work downtown but eating inside it can be a cramped adventure. If you don’t suffer from claustrophobia, the food is worth it. OVERALL RATING 4 out of 5 BROS

BLAKE:  I’ve long thought Saw’s in Homewood had the best Q in Birmingham, and I was eager to try this expanded menu at the new Soul Kitchen location. I think Saw’s Soul Kitchen has a menu diverse and interesting enough that I could eat a meal every day there. And it’s inexpensive enough to compare to almost anywhere I would eat dinner anyway, as I eat out a minimum of six nights a week. My second visit, I chose the signature dish – pork and greens on cheese grits. I grew up in a part of Alabama as country as a turnip green, but I had never had greens, turnip nor collard. I think this was a combination of the two. And bros, it was phenomenal. Topped with onion rings, it was filling enough alone, but I added potato salad, because I like the more mustard based potato salad served at Saw’s a lot.

On my first trip, I had the smoked sausage, and it was equally amazing. With this new venture, Saw’s is quickly carving a niche like the one carved by Jim ‘n Nick’s: while the barbecue is terrific, the diversity of the Saw’s menu is what makes it unique. With an array of burgers and Cajun dishes, like the smoked sausage and boudin, most anyone can find something great. The pork and greens on cheese grits could be the most unique dish I have had in Birmingham. OVERALL RATING 4.5 out  of 5 bros