By Daniel Paris
As I was driving to Brown’s BBQ, a medley of Mississippi delta blues started to take over and stimulate images of crispy fried catfish waiting for me on a plate.
This was my third visit to Chef Charles Brown’s hidden-gem restaurant in the north Palm Springs area. His tiny establishment is among a collection of worn structures that could be sitting along the south’s Highway 61 corridor. I feel transported as I pull into the gravel parking lot flanked by a barber shop and a bar that has seen better days.
As I enter and find a spot at one of the four tables I am greeted with a big smile from Charles the chef/owner of the restaurant. The menu and sides cover the beloved recipes of classic southern comfort food, including the mandatory sweet tea. Slow ribs, brisket, hot links, tri-tip and pulled pork from the backyard smoker. Crunchy deep-fried shrimp, wings, chicken and catfish are the mains. The sides include mac- and- cheese, potato salad, grits, yams, coleslaw, black-eyed peas, red beans and rice and fries. Moist and crunchy cornbread accompanies the plates and meals.
There is a bottle of Louisiana hot sauce on each table to add a little sting to your taste buds. The BBQ sauce is homemade and has a nice slow burn hiding behind an initial sweetness.
I come for the catfish. Deep fried with a crispy cornmeal crust that shatters in your mouth providing a great intro to the unique flavor of the fish. A three-piece plate is an ample serving for nearly any appetite. I love the little plastic packets of tartar sauce that accompany each order.
Brown’s does a brisk take-out business. Call ahead and wait a few minutes. You can kick back and sip on some sweet tea and maybe, if you are lucky, catch some Jerry Springer re-runs.
Brown’s is one of a few places left in the Coachella Valley where you can get a quality full meal for less than fifteen bucks.
Brown’s BBQ and Soul Food
410 West San Rafael
Palm Springs, Ca. 92262
11am-7pm every day.