Soul Food Friday, Part 1: Catfish at the Dowd YMCA

Some people might go to the Dowd to tone their butts. Others go to check out other people’s butts and post Missed Connections on Craigslist. But for Charlotteans less concerned about the shapeliness of derrieres, the Dowd has another offering: fried catfish.

Sold on Fridays (natch), catfish is one of many samplings of the Dowd YMCA’s Fitness Restaurant – actual name – which also offers “chicken tetterzini,” “barbque pork” (two sauces available), baked chicken, and… smoothies. Normally, the staff will cook your fish to order, but I got there a little too late for that (2pm). That’s all right, ladies, I’ll take what I can get.

For seven bucks, here’s what I got. And uh, whoops, there was macaroni there at one point. I blame my catfishlust for my failure to snap a shot of my plate pre-facestuffing:

That’s two sides, a huge cup of tea, and a nummy pile of salt-and-pepper fried catfish, which, even if not cooked to order, still tasted great. The green beans were predictably salty and mushy – and I use “predictably” here in a positive way, because isn’t that what home cooking is about? I’ll go to some snooty gastrolounge if I want to be shocked and awed by the truffle oil and antioxidant blend mixed into my haricots.

Cards on the table: I am not a catfish expert. If there are any gustation practices associated with catfish eating, I don’t know ‘em. And I don’t wanna know ‘em. Everything I need to know is right here. (I’m pointing to my belly.)

So I feel like this is a philosophical dilemma. To me, this catfish is incredible. Definitely the best catfish I’ve ever tasted, and the best I can ever imagine tasting. But am I like that guy in the cave who’s only ever seen his shadow, so he doesn’t know it’s coming from a sun that’s way bigger and awesomer than anything he’s ever seen? Because he’s never left the cave? Only, catfish? YOU KNOW?!

Whatever. I like this cave. They have good catfish.

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