On Broad Street away from downtown Augusta, next to a convenience store and across from Mercy Ministries, Calvin’s Roasted Fish & Salads is a hidden gem. Seafood is the specialty — soul food seafood, including croaker, catfish, whole bream, and fish & grits. I have relished a crowd of large, firm shrimp that share bowl space with dark-meat chicken in a lunch of hearty gumbo. It’s not complicated gumbo, nor is it fiery; it’s comfort food, thick with okra, laced with sweet shreds of tomato, dotted with corn, all on a bed of fluffy white rice.
The menu also includes plenty of beef: oxtails, beef ribs, beef tips, meat loaf, Salisbury steak, and liver & onions. And there’s chicken: BBQ, fried, or rotisserie roasted. As for the Salad part of Calvin’s name, I’ve seen little evidence of that in the restaurant. Perhaps salad is more a specialty of chef’s catering business.
Meat and fish frowners can have a field day eating nothing but side-dish vegetables. These include potent collard greens, candied hams, braised cabbage, mac ‘n’ cheese (yes, mac ‘n’ cheese is a vegetable hereabouts), and fried green tomatoes. I adore the kitchen’s unusual squash casserole. It’s a heap of yellow squash disks cooked to fallapart tenderness, ribboned with caramelized sweet onions and carrots. No cheese or breadcrumbs, but hugely satisfying!
Calvin’s is quiet and hospitable. There is a steam table up front from which you can choose chicken or beef and side dishes (which the staff plates); or order from a menu of cooked-to-order seafood. Meals are in the $10 and under range.