Chow, Baby: Wednesday, July 2, 2003
Wanna See My Blurbs?

In the entertainment media, blurb whores are those journalists who craft “The Greatest Ever!!!”-style reviews — not for the benefit of readers, but to keep getting free stuff from publicists and in the hopes of seeing their tiny-type names in ads for the movie, book, restaurant, whatever. You know, the critics you never heard of, from obscure newspapers, calling Dumb and Dumberer a “satiric masterpiece — look out, Oscar!” It’s like the marquee at Catfish Sam’s, which reads simply “Five Star Rating!” Sez who — Zagat’s? Bon Appétit? A local blurb whore?

Inquiring minds discovered that the stars come from five postings in the Restaurants section of This was good news for Chow, Baby’s own ambitions to blurb whoredom — apparently Sam’s will put any praise up in lights. It probably won’t even matter that this is Chow, Baby’s sincere, honest opinion: Catfish Sam’s is great. The family-style, family-owned-since-1952 restaurant at 2735 W. Division in Arlington starts the meal off with a platter of pinto beans, cole slaw, best-ever hush puppies, pickled okra, and house-made green tomato relish. The lunch catfish plate ($6.50) is two thick fillets of cornmeal-breaded fish fried up as perfect as can be, plus seasoned fries and fluffy-soft yeast rolls. (Dinner portions range from $8.50 for three pieces to $14.95 for all-you-can-eat.) Chow, Baby must deduct a point for the non-zingy tartar sauce but give it back for the whoa-nelly tart lime icebox pie.

Grilled fish, with lemon pepper or Cajun spices, was also done right: flaky but still juicy. Fried pickles ($2.95 basket) are the best in town. So how does this go? Ah. If you’re going to eat at just one catfish place this year, make it Catfish Sam’s. Chow, Baby gives it six stars.

No Legs, Got Wok

Today’s bonus media vocabulary word is legman. This refers not to Chow, Baby’s fetish for houndstooth chef’s pants but to the industry practice of having professional or recreational tipsters do the legwork, chasing leads while the star reporters work the major stories. Chow, Baby happens to have many legpeople in north and northeast Tarrant, sounding alerts to new or neato places, but none in the great southwest. So a lonely Sunday will see a hungry Chow, Baby trolling Bryant Irvin, McCart, even Old Granbury, hoping to get lucky.

Chow, Baby did get lucky at E&C Wok, 3702 Altamesa off McCart. An Asian-food snob, Chow, Baby generally avoids Americanized Chinese joints in strip malls next to retirement villages, but it was either this or over to South Hulen, where the traffic jams make the petite Chowbabymobile choke up in fear for its life. E&C was the right choice. Potstickers ($2.95 for six) were fresh-made, a little gummy but tasty. Mu shu pork ($6.95), the Chinese fajita, had enough shredded meat to satisfy American appetites but also plenty of crisp stir-fried mushrooms, carrots, cabbage, and other veggies, and a sweet-tangy plum sauce on the side. It was a nice find. Maybe Chow, Baby should give up the blurb whore dreams and stick with being a legman itself.

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