The plate came not long after we ordered it: fried catfish, greens, a sweet corn muffin, and one side ― diner's choice (we choose mac and cheese). The greens were threaded through with skeins of multicolored peppers and shredded pork;
all right. The mac and cheese could have used a little more work. But the
catfish, dusted in seasoned cornmeal, made the recommendation. With each bite, its
sandy, golden crust crackled in a thousand tiny ways, as if one loud crunch
had been digitally segmented into all its aural components. The fish had no mud funk to it, just a sweet, freshwater flavor. The flesh would melt away almost before the coating crunch dissolved into silence.
A few minutes after dropping off the plate, the waitress returned to the table to ask how we liked it. We'd just popped another oil-hot hunk of fish in our mouth, and so all we could do was mouth a silent "Oh!" with tufts of catfish steam emerging as we exhaled. The feat earned us a big thumbs-up.
Daddy O's Cafe: 294 Ninth St. (at Howard), 558-9988. Open for breakfast and lunch this week; opening for dinner next week.