South of the Border offers soothing comfort food

Location of South of the Border
Location of South of the Border

It’s located south of the border — the Mississippi border, that is.

South of the Border, a long-established restaurant situated between St. Francisville and the state line, has a clever, albeit somewhat confusing name for the first-time diner, who will learn it’s not a Mexican restaurant but one that serves a little bit of everything, from steaks and seafood to pasta and sandwiches.

The dishes are good — as in soothing, comfort-food good.

Many of the entrées come with a vegetable, salad, bread and one of four potato choices: fries, baked, stuffed (called ‘potato casserole’ there and served in ramekins) and sweet potato fries.

On Sundays, there’s an additional menu to choose from, and those meals come with dessert, too.

For appetizers, we chose fried green tomatoes with a crawfish sauce ($6.95) and fried dill pickles ($3.95), served with a ranch-style dipping sauce. The thick slices of fried green tomatoes were tender and tasty; the crawfish sauce tasted a little of flour, but that was a minor criticism in the face of a satisfying dish. The bite-sized, tangy, fried dill pickles were terrific alone, the dipping sauce not necessary but good.

We happened to be there on a Sunday and from that menu of six items, we chose two entrées: the 8-ounce flat iron steak ($15.99) and the pork ribeye with Jezebel sauce ($14.99).

The steak was excellent and juicy, as was the thick pork ribeye. The jelly-like Jezebel sauce, served on the side, was a nice, sweet and spicy accompaniment to the pork.

From the regular menu, other guests ordered the grilled, boneless chicken breast topped with sautéed crab ($10.99) and the loaded burger ($9.99).

The chicken breast was a hit. Only the burger, a handsome, fully dressed sandwich with mushrooms, was a disappointment, with a somewhat flat, neutral taste.

With our entrées, we loved the accompanying potato dishes; the nicely seasoned lima beans that were the vegetable of the day, and the house salad that was fresh and crisp, with grape tomatoes and feta cheese.

From the dessert cart, we selected lemon pie, chocolate cake and bread pudding. Yum.

The lemon pie was what is also called chess pie, golden brown on top; the chocolate cake had a nice fudge-like topping and we decided the bread pudding, made with a nice rum sauce, was about the best we’ve ever had.

When we walked into South of the Border, we felt like we had just stepped into someone’s home. There’s a communal feel about the place, with its simple but tasteful white linen tablecloths, large windows and touches of home, like the lamps on side tables placed here and there.