Legendary | Worth driving from anywhere
Doe’s Eat Place | Best Steak and Delta Hot Tamales
Review by: Michael Stern
The Restaurant That’s An “Eat Place”
For the best steak and Delta hot tamales, there is no place like Doe’s Eat Place. In fact, there really is no place like Doe’s however you look at it.
Yes, there are Doe’s now throughout much of the South, a couple family-owned, others franchised. In our experience, their steaks are top-drawer, too. But the original Doe’s in Greenville, Mississippi, weaves a very special magic spell. Located on the wrong side of town in the back rooms of a dilapidated grocery store, it does not look like a restaurant, much less a great restaurant. Many of the dining tables are located in the kitchen. Customers sit helter-skelter among stoves and counters where the staff dresses salads and fries potatoes in big iron skillets. Plates, flatware, and tablecloths are all mismatched. It is noisy and inelegant. Service — while perfectly polite — is rough and tumble.
Doe’s fans, ourselves included, love it just the way it is. The ambiance, which is at least a few degrees this side of “casual,” is part of what makes it such a kick. Mississippians have eaten here since the 1940s. For regular patrons the eccentricity makes the experience as comfortable as an old shoe. Newcomers may be shocked by the ramshackle surroundings. But Doe’s will win your heart as soon as the food starts coming.
Mississippi Delta Menu
Start with hot tamales — a Mississippi Delta signature dish. They’re all-beef and come with a bowl of chili for spooning on or dipping into. Salad dressed with olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice has earned fans for decades. Usually, you can get shrimp, broiled or fried, and they are very, very good.
Steak has made Doe’s reputation. “Baby Doe” Signa, son of the founder, once told us they use nothing more than “US Choice” grade. To us, one of these steaks tastes prime, as good as any expense-account big-city steak. Tender but in no way tenderized, it oozes juice and delivers booming flavor in every forkful. Choices range from a modest filet mignon up to a sirloin big enough to feed four. We love the porterhouse, the bone of which bisects a couple of pounds of meat that are very different in character on either side of the bone. The tenderloin side is zesty and exciting; the other side seems laden with protein, as deeply satisfying as beef can be. With steak come some delicious French fries – dandy to eat “neat,” even better when dragged through the oily juices that flow out of steaks onto the plate.
Doe’s is not cheap; but it shouldn’t be. This unique combination of best steak and Delta hot tamales served in a deliciously downscale setting is priceless Americana.
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Doe’s Eat Place | Best Steak and Delta Hot Tamales Recipes
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2 Responses to “Doe’s Eat Place | Best Steak and Delta Hot Tamales”
March 11th, 2009
The BEST steak, anywhere!
We shared the two-and-a-half-pound porterhouse ($52 with fries included), a salad ($4), garlic bread ($1.50), six tamales ($8), two beers, and a can of Coke for a total of $79 plus tip. We ordered our porterhouse rare-plus, and that’s exactly how it came out. It was bursting with flavor, and we dived right into it. The fries (included with the steak price) are freshly-fried, crispy on the outside and just right inside.
The salad is lemony and luscious with olive oil and tomato bits. We now have a challenge to duplicate it at home. Yes, we know we will fail. The garlic bread (three slices which we fought over) is buttery, crispy and perfect. We’d order everything again, except for the appetizer tamales (which were unexceptional and filled us a bit too much before dinner). We’ll try the shrimp next time.
Be sure, if your budget is tight, to ask the price of everything; there’s no printed menu. The waitress tells you what kinds of steaks there are, then offers side dishes in an off-handed way, with no prices. Knowing you’re in for a treat, you either roll with the flow or keep track of what you’re spending. Either way, you’ll leave HAPPY!
December 7th, 2008
As someone who has visited Greenville many times on business over the last thirty years I have had the opportunity to eat at Doe’s on a number of occasions. This is one place that never fails to delight. The steaks served here rival anything you will eat in Chicago or New York (I live in Chicago and visit top steak houses regularly). The only problem you will have is finishing one, because they are large.
It is a real kick to walk through the kitchen to get to your table (it’s the only way in) and see the steaks being prepared and the salads being tossed (there is only one choice of dressing, the one they are tossing it in: oil and vinegar). The fries are fabulous, just like your mom probably made in a frying pan when you were a kid, and they are the only potato available. To stay in the spirit of things you absolutely have to start your meal with one of their hot tamales, which seems to be out of place in Mississippi but is the local appetizer of choice.
Once you eat at Does you will never forget the experience, and I guarantee you will spend a lot of time figuring out how you will justify returning to Greenville so you can eat there again.