Sandra’s Next Generation
Shandrea’s Combo Plate – Fried Chicken, Fried Pork Chop, Collard Greens, Baked Macaroni & Cheese
Candied Yam Cornbread
If one had to think about a “least likely to succeed on an Ivy League Campus” Restaurant concept based on admissions and stereotypes alone it would be hard to argue that Soul Food was not in the top five, yet steps from Yale it is said some of America’s best Collard Greens and Fried Chicken are being cooked by a woman named Sandra Pittman and on Saturday those rumors turned out to be right.
Located at 636 Congress Avenue and open Wednesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner, an unpretentious façade and several people hanging out in front of a nearby storefront not particularly inviting but at the same time non-threatening, it was sometime around 4:00pm that the door of Sandra’s Next Generation was opened with a smell of Red Pepper and roasting Meats quickly filling nares, the last table for two quickly taken in a place that offers seating for twenty and a waitress quickly stopping by with a menu.
Clearly a neighborhood favorite, the take-out line constantly 4 to 14 deep throughout the course of a sixty-five minute stay during which the majority was spent waiting after an order was placed, it was listening to 70’s Soul and Hip-Hop while chatting with neighbors who were regulars that time passed quickly, Sandra’s story told on some literature where she speaks of learning at the knee of her mother, a cook she reportedly still aspires to equal some day.
Apologizing more than once for the wait when topping off water, though in reality there was nothing to be sorry about as every cook and server was busting a hump to keep up with the non-stop line, it was alongside a two-meat and two-sides combo plate that complimentary Cornbread was presented, a top heavily painted in melted Butter moistening the dense crumb with light sweetness while a complimentary taste of Candied Yam Cornbread that Sandra has been working on proved even better with a Sticky Toffee Pudding texture and flavor not far off from the traditional Soulfood Side.
Moving next to the main plate, two full Wings and a juicy Pork Chop both deeply penetrated with spices and cooked crisp without any residual grease, the meal’s true highlight was actually impeccable Greens that remained snappy despite being fully cooked in Pork and Peppers while the partially crunchy Mac n’ Cheese was also good, though not as memorable as a complimentary scoop of Banana Pudding that featured big chunks of Fruit in a creamy base with Nilla Wafers crumbled and added later to prevent them from getting soggy and wet.