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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Local eatery serves up mouth-tempting soul food dishes

Dad enjoys a heaping plate of food at John Carter’s Place last week. John Carter’s is located on East Lancaster in Fort Worth.  André Green/The Collegian
Dad enjoys a heaping plate of food at John Carter’s Place last week. John Carter’s is located on East Lancaster in Fort Worth. André Green/The Collegian

By André Green/se news editor

Dad enjoys a heaping plate of food at John Carter’s Place last week. John Carter’s is located on East Lancaster in Fort Worth.  André Green/The Collegian
Dad enjoys a heaping plate of food at John Carter’s Place last week. John Carter’s is located on East Lancaster in Fort Worth. André Green/The Collegian

I have always believed that if my grandmother or my mother didn’t fix it, then it isn’t right. So what chance would a soul food restaurant have at pleasing me?

John Carter’s Place changes such notions when the door swings open and the sweet smell of soul tickles your gizzard.

At first glance, the restaurant reminded me of the basement of the church I attended as a child. The cushioned metal seats and square tables made me hearken back to the informal dinners and family atmosphere of home.

When guests enter the restaurant, Mr. Carter greets you and a member of the wait staff escorts you a table.

I invited my parents to dine with me because they are the biggest food critics I know. I also knew that my preconceived prejudice toward eating at “soul food restaurants” would require a second and third set of taste buds for a proper analysis.

Even the menu is eye catching as it details Carter’s life and the history of his establishment.

After looking over the menu, I decided on the rib plate ($6.92), which consisted of beef short ribs and three sides. I chose the turnip greens, mashed potatoes and a side salad with blue cheese dressing.

Dad had the same, subbing the salad for cheese broccoli while mom chose the hamburger steak ($5.99) with steak fries and toast.

I noticed that for a restaurant that touts a down-home, friendly atmosphere, there wasn’t much interaction among the patrons. Fifteen minutes later, I found out why.

We were talking about our days when the waitress brought our food out.

On both dad’s plate and mine, were about six to seven ribs with the potatoes off to the side slightly doused with gravy. The greens, liberally dotted with chopped onions and a small portion of salt pork, came in a side dish, as did the cheese broccoli.

Soon we went from full conversation to small talk to silence.

I’ve found that when visiting most establishments, the food is prepared with one of two extremes: either

it’s cooked like everyone in the world is a diabetic or it’s too salty to eat.

Carter’s prepares its food just right.

In fact, I added only a smidgen of Louisiana hot sauce to my greens, and they were outstanding. They made me want to slap my momma, but I didn’t want to drop my fork.

The potatoes were seasoned to perfection as they shared the same gravy as the ribs. I believe it took me about three spoonfuls to finish them off and head to the ribs, which I had saved for last.

The ribs were juicy and succulent. The meat was tender enough to come off the bone with only minimal effort with a fork. The seasonings resonated throughout the meat, so the flavor didn’t fade as it so often does wit other’s food.

My father could muster only few grunts and hand motions as he swallowed everything in sight. He tried unsuccessfully to steal off our plates, which meant he enjoyed his food. My mother said not a disparaging word and was exceptionally high on the house ketchup.

At the end of dinner, we had three fat stomachs and zero room for dessert. Dad figured he might be able to squeeze in a piece of pecan pie ($1.83) “once things shifted,” so he and Mom got some to go.

My mother later told me she couldn’t tell me what the pie tasted like because Dad ate them both on the way home.

On the way out, the cook said, “You should have gotten a picture of the chicken fried steak.”

I think I know what I’m having when I go back.

If it’s good soul food you’re looking for, John Carter’s Place is definitely where you want to be. I guarantee it!

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