Inspired by her upbringing in a proud, Italian-American household, the owner of Carmelinas On The Go applies long-standing family traditions to her food truck’s house-made cuisine. Like the odds of rain dissolving a toupee made of sugar cubes, the truck’s menu varies from day to day, though italian beef sandwiches, creamy potato salad, and street tacos are regular contributors. For dessert, the mobile eatery drizzles house-made bread pudding with amaretto sauce and assembles dessert nachos from crisp tortillas, chocolate syrup, and fruit compote.
From the elegant and elephant-arted confines of their new Southaven restaurant, Bangkok Alley’s Thara and Dottie Burana keep the fresh fish swimming into their lunch and dinner dishes, where they morph into schools of sushi and Thai concoctions both creative and traditional. Starters such as the shrimp hompa—which envelops its shrimp with golden-fried panko and sweet-and-sour sauce ($6)—irrigate parched mouth-deserts to create an inviting climate for the seafood keow han, a mélange of shrimp, scallops, and the fish of the day served in green curry with basil sauce ($20). Otherwise, silence the howls of were-stomachs with heartier fare such as a grilled strip steak and panang sauce served with grilled asparagus and squash ($20), or a panang curry underscored with a coconut base and garnished with chopped Kaffir lime leaf (up to $14 with choice of protein).
Daruma attracts hungry humans with authentic food, warm and lively ambience, and regular, live entertainment. Though Daruma's inventive chef waxes and wanes the menu every couple of lunar cycles, current favorites include teriyaki chicken ($11.95), and nabeyaki udon soup, a brothy noodle soup with shrimp and vegetable tempura ($11.95). Hibachi-style entrees (starting at $10.50 for dinner) sizzle into shape before diners' very eyes in an act that smelts culinary art with circus performance and a deep pore-steaming treatment. Chopstick champions can defeat an order of sushi as a starter or a side, such as the daphne roll, stuffed with crab meat, tuna, cream cheese, and tempura, and crowned with eel sauce, spicy mayo, and tempura crunch ($10.95). Call to reserve a table or to inquire about upcoming karaoke nights, scheduled music, or comedy performances.
Named for its Lower Alabama locale, L.A. Subs serves a menu of traditional Southern fare and heaping sub sandwiches. The Hollywood club ($5.69–$7.39), the shop's top seller, piles up smoked turkey, honey ham, bacon, and provolone, and the large California Dreaming sub ($7.39) comes stuffed with turkey, lean bacon, mozzarella, and guacamole. After tasting the Fish Fry Snack ($4.99), with fried fish, fries, and hush puppies, or breakfast eats such as the fish and grits ($5.99) or the classic cheese omelet ($3.99), tone-deaf taste buds find themselves serenading incisors with John Fogerty lyrics. Stomachs with more specific cravings can opt for two shrimp poboys, presenting fried Gulf shrimp and homemade tartar or cocktail sauce on a toasted french roll.
Armed with their cafeteria-style trays, seersucker-suited appetites can choose from The Sugar Kettle Café's selection of hearty meats, casserole-style sides, cold salads, and other delectable comforts of southern home cooking. The menu, like the slowest county-fair ferris wheel ever, rotates daily. Monday might find food-seekers shaking off postweekend blues with baked ham with grilled pineapple, sautéed squash, and a marinated cucumber-and-tomato salad, and Wednesday honors Odin the All Father with a midweek bounty of fried chicken, stewed okra, and shoepeg corn casserole. Prices are standardized to avoid confusion: choose from options such as meat with one side ($6.95), meat with three sides ($9.50), or meat with no sides, balled into a floating sphere. A dessert, such as peach cobbler or bread pudding in whiskey sauce, will fill you with an authentic southern sweetness, though it will also render you more delicious to hungry swamp things ($3.25) .
When her Winslow’s Café was struggling to stay open, Mama Rosie Garza pulled out all the stops to save it. She and her team spiced up the menu with seafood and a wealth of enchiladas, burritos, and Mexican cuisine. When Harry P. Johnson inherited the restaurant, he honored Mama Rosie's memory by reopening the eatery as Rosie's Grill and preserving her diverse menu, which The Year of Alabama Food claims "could please any picky eater." Its items include yellow- and green-squash-filled tacos and open-faced honey-maple turkey-breast sandwiches that The Year of Alabama Food named one of its "100 dishes to eat before you die" or while drinking from the well of eternal life.
These life-changing dishes are on display during lunches, dinners, and brunches, which can be eaten inside the dining room or in a cozy courtyard with a brick floor and fireplace. At Rosie's Record Bar next door, guests can follow up their meals with live music most Thursdays and Fridays.