I have really had a ball on this journey to trying all “100 Dishes To Eat in Alabama Before You Die.” There are so many fantastic restaurants that we have not tried before, and we are always up for trying something new. We’ve found some great dishes that way. But this time, it was pure joy to return to an old favorite: Niki’s West.
I’ve been eating at Niki’s West for what seems like most of my adult life. When I was straight out of college and working my first “real” job at Alabama Power, my friend Felton and I would eat there at least once every couple of weeks. It was close by and the food was excellent, so we’d hop over to Finley Avdnue and go through the steam line. That’s what you do at Niki’s if you go during the lunch hour – you make your selection from the steam line.
They usually have about 6 or 8 meats and probably 20 or so side dishes to choose from. The day we went,we chose the salisbury steak and the broiled catfish, but their usual offerings include veal cutlets, fried pork chops, fried chicken, Greek chicken, fried flounder, and a host of other freshly-prepared entrees. The side dishes are just as good. So good, in fact, that I started to just get a veggie plate and skip the broiled fish entirely, but in the end the fish just looked too good to pass up. Because I was trying to get items I thought my PattiGirl would eat, I chose the creamed potatoes, new potatoes, and creamed corn. Starch overload! But if you’re at a place like Niki’s West, it’s all good.
MA ordered the salisbury steak and she chose field peas and macaroni and cheese.
Here’s the thing about Niki’s West: Everything they offer is made in the restaurant by southern cooks who have been running the restaurant since it was opened in the 1950′s. It’s all homemade with real ingredients, not purchased frozen from a food distributor. The peas were fresh picked from a garden, for Pete’s sake. When you have cooks with that much experience and you give them quality ingredients to work with, you are going to have a smorgasbord o’ flavor. And calories too, but who’s counting.
I was so glad to see Niki’s West’s steam line on the list. It was a great excuse to take my littles to one of my old hangouts. We’ll be going back very soon!