With a beer and sweet tea on its way, I set my sights on some down-home cooking. First to arrive were hush puppies and crab fritters with a spicy rémoulade. It’s hard to mess up fried cornmeal batter, so I wasn't surprised when they proved to be very close to what I find at home. The real test would be the BBQ. Just thinking about BBQ makes my mouth water and sends me back to Homewood, where you can smell Demetri’s from a mile away. Mouth watering, I ordered a pulled-pork plate with coleslaw. Unfortunately, the meat lacked that wonderful hickory flavor, and the BBQ sauce tasted as if it came straight from the bottle. The coleslaw was only OK. Not terrible, but just shy of home. Even though the BBQ didn’t transport me back to the South, the experience, atmosphere, and crab fritters made it well worth the stop. (I even took some fritters back to my hotel; they were that good.)
I am always intrigued by perceptions of my home when I’m far away from it. Live Bait is about as close to authentic as you can get in the Big Apple. After speaking with some of the staff and patrons, I found that the place is a guilty pleasure for a lot of New Yorkers. They love the food and the relaxed mood Live Bait projects. I guess it proves that not only can you find a little bit of home when you are out of town, but that most people appreciate a little Southern style—even in the big city.