Legendary | Worth driving from anywhere
Martin’s | Meat & 3 At Its Best | Montgomery, Alabama
Review by: Michael Stern
A cross-section of the Montgomery populace occupies the oilcloth-covered tables in Martin’s two dining rooms. You see men and women in full business attire, ladies lunching, and tradesmen (in their clean clothes). On Sunday, the after-church crowd dresses to the nines. While in no ways formal or uppity, Martin’s provides a polite place to eat. Comfortable, hospitable, and reasonably priced, it defines a certain style of Dixie restaurant hospitality. In this jewel of a neighborhood café, you enjoy southern-style meat & 3 at its best.
The last time I approached the front door, I broke into a big grin. The white board menu outside listed banana pudding as a dessert of the day. “Yes, sir,” offered a woman who was walking out. “It’s so good, I had two portions!” A well-dressed gent sitting next to me in the dining room that day noted that I had ordered three desserts. He confessed that he had eaten lunch a short while ago downtown. But he craved good pie, so he drove out to Martin’s for a slice of coconut meringue. Martin’s food has earned loyal customers for decades.
The Meat & 3 Roster
Meals start with either crisp-edged cornbread muffins or biscuits that are flaky-crusted with gossamer insides. Lunch anchors, which vary by the day, include succulent-crusted fried chicken and baked chicken that is every bit as luscious as the fried. A gentle tug with the tines of a fork easily separates the chicken into moist, velvety bites. Among other regular entrees you will find catfish fillets, beef tips, fried flounder, and pork chops. Starting every day at 2pm, heftier dinner entrees become available: meat loaf, whole catfish, fried chicken livers, fried oysters, and fried shrimp.
Side dishes compose an honor roll of masterfully cooked southern vegetables. Cabbage is cooked soft and savory. Pot likker sops fragrant collard greens. Other highlights include butter beans, cheese grits, candied yams, and bowls of shimmering red cherry Jell-O chockful of fruit cocktail.
Banana Pudding, Please!
When banana pudding is on the menu, it demands full attention. At once dense and creamy, it holds Nilla Wafers softened just enough to maintain their cookiehood. The wafers offer rugged contrast to custard and thick veins of whipped cream. Fresh, firm bananas populate the pudding in abundance. Pies earn blue ribbons, too. Shreds of coconut crown coconut custard, which comes topped with frothy meringue. The flavor of cocoa infuses chocolate pie, but it doesn’t reach devil’s-food intensity.
I enjoyed lunch here so much the first few times I passed through Montgomery, I scheduled a return trip for Sunday, when meat & 3 at its best gets even better. Entrees make you think of home cooking, but the best home cooking imaginable. They cut roast beef into rosy flaps that are as tender as beef can be. The very aroma of sliced turkey makes every Sunday smell like Thanksgiving day.
Directions & Hours
- Monday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
- Tuesday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
- Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
- Thursday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
- Friday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
- Saturday: Closed
- Sunday: 10:45 AM – 2:30 PM
|Meals Served||Lunch, Dinner|
|Credit Cards Accepted||Yes|