by Nicki Wood
At Ella Jean's Cafe, 2116 Meharry Blvd., proprietors Brian and Diane Stewart offer the favorites you hope for, and some things that make perfect sense, even if they were unexpected.
There's the Kenya Casserole, a homey mixture of ground beef, corn and taco seasoning, topped with cornbread and served with sour cream. It's basically a taco casserole, that beloved staple of the weeknight kitchen, and guaranteed to please.
And here's another kitchen staple: Buffalo wings. You don't usually see them as an entree, but why not? Ella Jean's are the classic: wings, butter, hot sauce. The wings are baked in a combination of butter and hot sauce for a full pepper flavor and very little burn. Because they're baked rather than fried, they have a better nutrition profile, like several of Ella Jean's entrees.
There's still plenty of classic meat-and-three — ribs, cabbage, greens, fried fish and cornbread from scratch. I'll go back for those, but also to see what unexpected inspirations come from the kitchen.