Belgrade Gardens


Okay, so I obviously have bad-mouthed Barberton Chicken in the past. Recently, Chef Michael Simon (Lola Bistro) (B-Spot) featured two Barberton Chicken houses on the show Food Feuds. He named Belgrade Gardens the winner between the two. It has been years since I ventured into one of these places and I had never been to the declared winner on the show. We thought we would give it another try. Belgrade Gardens is cavernous but bright with room for lots of chicken consumption. Our server greeted us quickly, talked about the tv show, and assured us we would enjoy ourselves. So the question remains, did Chef Simon find great chicken in Barberton or did he just pick between two chicken places. If some places we visited after other shows, both great (Chaps Charcoal) and less than (Melt), are any indication I could be eating crow or disappointing chicken.



The Barberton Chicken Dinner

We ordered a chicken dinner (no kidding) and wanting to try something else I ordered a fish platter. Everything on the menu is essentially breaded and fried. We ordered a number of different sides as each dinner comes with three. The first things to hit the table were apple sauce and coleslaw. The apple sauce seems like it would come from a generic #10 can and lacked anything to make it appetizing. The coleslaw is vinegar based and after your first bite you can hear the “thwock” as your pupils smack together, it is intensely sour. But we really both enjoyed the sour against the peppery cabbage. Easily the best thing we had during the evening. The chicken arrived and looked pretty good. Maybe I was wrong. One piece was actually pretty moist but the other was horrifically dry and stringy. The breading was crunchy but had little to offer as far as taste was concerned. I felt vindicated by my earlier report. The “hot sauce” was far better and more flavorful at Belgrade’s than other Barberton chicken houses with a nice bit of heat but I still don’t really get the relationship to the chicken. The mash and yellow gravy were in the same category as the apple sauce.


Bread is Okay

Here It Is, Dry and Kinda Boring, Barberton Chicken
Super Fishy, Seafood. Not in a Good Way

"Hot Sauce" I Still Don't Get it, but It Couldn't Save the Fish

Sole Redemption, the Slaw

I got my platter with a large piece of fish, scallops, shrimp and fries. It looked promising. Unfortunately, looks didn’t translate into flavor. The fish and scallops all had intense ammonia overtones which is why many people don’t like to eat fish, when it’s not fresh it stinks, to the nose and the tongue. Here I truly tested the "hot" sauce and loaded it on top of the fish but it did little to mask all that was wrong with the seafood. The fries were cold, the shrimp were okay and the green beans were mushy green canned slop. We tried a couple of desserts; a lemon pie that was so tart it brought tears to your eyes and a baklava so dense I think it might have been made in 1933 on Belgrade Gardens First Day. The service was quick and friendly. The food was an outright disaster. Barberton chicken seems to be embraced by local homers, probably like I feel about some Y-town spots. But it doesn’t translate for me.

Who's Got the Mortar?




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