Try out finger-lickin’ food at an American-style diner.

I have just returned from the USA. When we think about American cuisine, most of us would think of burgers, pizza and fried chicken. Whilst these are important exports, American cuisine includes many other dishes including barbecue, grills, hushpuppies, baked beans, succotash, clambake, Creole, Cajun and soul food. But it is the quintessential American fast food that reminds us of the USA – fried chicken, hot dogs, barbecue ribs, buffalo wings and fries. Food that may not be terribly healthy but is full of flavour and “comfort” value.

Carolina Kitchen is a little piece of America in downtown Coorparoo. Located a block away from Old Cleveland Road the menu is classic American diner. Hoagies (Subway-style sandwiches), chilli dogs, hamburgers, barbecue ribs, buffalo wings, fries, cornbread and potato salad. This is American fast food at its best! But that doesn’t mean it’s upmarket! The venue is small – just three tables and a bench, with seating for 12. The ambience is American diner – busy, casual, plastic tables, no pretence, fast and flavoursome. Takeaway is popular with the locals!

Must-try dishes include the buffalo wings (actually chicken wings – but that’s another American story), $7.95 for six or $21.95 for a bucket of 24 – served with a blue cheese dipping sauce. Aunt Lilly Mae’s BBQ (pork) Baby Back Ribs are served with a rich honey barbecue sauce – $15.95 for a regular rib or $45 for a family pack – tender, juicy and full of flavour. The hot dogs are traditional American on a soft bun with a smooth chilli sauce ($5.95) and the New York Fries are decadent, shoestring fries topped with cheese, salsa and sour cream ($7.95) – soft and tasty.

Wash this down with a genuine imported Dr Peppers, A&W Root Beer or Welch’s grape juice. Finish with brownies, pumpkin pie and cookies. Good American food is messy – and this is good American food! Don’t expect any European refinement – the food is served in a paper-lined basket (foil for takeaway) no cutlery – one uses one’s fingers and licks the sauce off – this is all about finger-licking good!

Carolina’s is not sophisticated food but good quality American fast diner food. It is popular with young people and ex-pat Americans. It’s the place to go if you’re craving a taste of good ol’ Americana.