Epic Sandwich: Kings' Fried Green Tomato BLT gets a bit sloppy
Kings Wine Bar's Fried Green Tomato BLT
I simply adore fried green tomatoes. I was fortunate enough to experience my first FGT under the careful preparation of chef Eric Austin (Big E, where have you gone!). These southern specialties were an executional dream - full of spice, crunch and snap. The dipping sauce served along these perfectly golden medallions was spot on and the experience is one I've never forgotten, and long to feel again.
Needless to say, when I heard that Kings Wine Bar in my neighboring Kingfield was offering a Fried Green Tomato BLT ($6.95), I was hopeful that they could recreate this soul food favorite.
The bacon, lettuce and FGTs were engulfed in comically thick slices of Rustica bread, and although the texture is close to ideal it was simply way too much, and proved difficult to eat. Despite the mountain of bread, I need to mention that the crumb was really nice with plenty of nooks to catch the aromatic aioli, which as mentioned above, can often make or break the success of the fried tomatoes.
The bacon on this 'wich was just as I like it - thick and salty with a nice hint of smoke on the finish. I could have polished off a plate of the stuff. However, the heartache was in the fried green tomatoes - the theoretical star of the sandwich. Every State-Fair-loving Minnesotan knows that when you fry anything you better be working with a serious batter. The coating on these tomatoes was well-seasoned and worked perfectly with the salty fat shimmering off the bacon, but either the fryer was not up to temperature, or someone got excited in the kitchen, because the tomatoes lacked any crunch and the still-wet batter sort of oozed off as I bit in. Another key component of a good fried green tomato is the snap and the tartness you get from the yet-to-ripen beauty. Unfortunately, these tomatoes were likely a bit too ripe for frying, yielding their texture to the heat while contributing extra moisture to the slop factor of the sandwich.
Sandwich Rating: Good, not great. Unfortunately the star of this creation stumbled and it was hard to overlook given my deep love for a good fried green tomato. The excellent bacon and tasty aioli certainly helped the cause, but their efforts were not enough to overcome my disappointment with the tomatoes.
Epic Sandwich copyright 2009 by Teddy Hobbins
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