Carmi Soul Food
Address: 1825 E. Carson St., South Side
Delivery method: Postmates
Fish Stew, bowl: $6.59
Carmi Rolls: $6.99
Shrimp & Grits: $14.99
The only good thing to happen during this global pandemic so far — besides the overwhelming community feedback we've been receiving during Pittsburgh City Paper's membership campaign, of course — has been discovering that Carmi Soul Food is on Postmates.
As a North Sider, I used to frequent the soul food spot when Carmi was still housed on Western Avenue before it moved to the South Side a few years back, and I have been missing it immensely ever since. A little bit of comfort (food) from an old friend while working at home this weekend? Yes, please.
I was pleased to discover that the fish stew, which I've raved about to so many folks over the years, is still on its menu. The "bowl" of soup (actually a tall styrofoam container of soup) arrived still warm and was just spicy enough to give a little bit of kick without overwhelming the flavors of the fish base. A big hunk of cornbread, included free with the order, was soft and buttery and begged to be dipped into the soup.
New to me and to the menu since moving from the North Side were the Carmi Rolls, described on the menu as a Southern egg roll with chicken, black beans, corn, and cheese. To be honest, I found this combo a bit questionable when I read it on the menu, but hell, if being home stuck at work on a weekend during a global pandemic isn't the right time to try something new, when is?
The egg rolls came in a box of three, accompanied with a side of sweet dipping sauce. The rolls were heavier than expected, weighed down by a decent amount of stuffing and cheese. Without sauce, it was a bit like a savory hot pocket with a crunchier outer layer. Dipped into the sweet sauce, however, it was a totally different experience. Turns out my favorite part of egg rolls must be the fried wrappers and the sauce, because when I liberally coated a roll with the dip, I could have been easily fooled into believing it was from one of my favorite Chinese restaurants.
The main course was a giant bowl of shrimp and grits. This thing is the ultimate comfort food, a solid and hefty meal on its own. After it took a push to even get my spoon through the thick layer of cheese on top (we're just gonna all agree not to diet during quarantine, right?), the restaurant's blend of Cajun spices, peppers, and onions came through with every bite. Well, two bites. Because by the time I ate the entire bowl of soup, cornbread, and egg roll, I was too stuffed to continue. I closed the plastic lid on the container, stuck it in the fridge, and now I have comfort food for later, too. The only thing missing was the friendly servers and music. (But shout out to Willis, my Postmates delivery driver, for bringing my order to my door with a smile.)