Melts in your mouth

M&Ms owner Mitch Moore shows off a slab of ribs.

M&Ms owner Mitch Moore shows off a slab of ribs.

Photo By David Robert

M&M’s Fish and Chicken Shack

3080 Mill St.
Reno, NV 89502

(775) 348-0707

Now this is what I’m talking about. This is my kind of eating. Delicious, Southern-fried cookin’ in a friendly, down-home family atmosphere. I was won over the moment I walked in the door. This is a hidden, deep-fried gem. It’s not actually a literal shack; it’s tucked away in an anonymous strip mall on Mill Street. But the moment you step in the door and take a whiff of the cooking food, you feel as though you’ve been swept away to some small, locals-only love shack in the deepest part of Mississippi. There’s no place else like it in the Truckee Meadows.

I was there with my friends Lauren and Leah and Leah’s 8-month-old baby, Marcel. It was such a nice day out that, even though the homespun fishing-theme interior was appealing, we had to sit outside. The food was so good it almost felt as though we were sitting out on the bayou, rather than a less-than-scenic parking lot.

M&M’s has all the Southern favorites and accoutrements. Leah had the fried catfish basket ($7.99) with black-eyed peas. Lauren had the fried chicken basket ($6.99) with red beans and rice and a piece of cornbread ($.50). And I had the barbecue rib dinner ($10.99) with yams and collard greens. We also got a big basket of fried okra ($3). We were careful to order different things so that we’d have a variety to sample. I was happy with everything. There wasn’t a single item that didn’t fill me with waves of flavor ecstasy. This is food of pure pleasure.

The fried chicken was perfect, with a nice crispy exterior. But it wasn’t fried so deeply as to ruin the juicy, succulent flavor of the meat. Same goes for the okra, the catfish and the accompanying hush puppies. There is indeed an art to the deep fryer, and at M&Ms, they have it down pat. They turn it out crispy and savory without being greasy or compromising the natural flavors of the fried items. It’ll make you want to eat all your food fried from now on. I seriously had no idea fried chicken could be that good.

My ribs were also quite good—big, meaty, flavorful hunks with a tasty sauce that soaked my beard. The yams were sweet and tasted fresh and homemade. The collard greens, so often mushy and flavorless, were tasty, and the red beans and rice were just spicy enough.

One thing I didn’t try was the chicken waffles (I didn’t notice them on the menu until after I got home). But that’s no problem because I’ll be sure to sample them next time; M&M’s is definitely entering into my regular rotation of local eateries.

Young Marcel was also happy with the restaurant. When his mother, in a birdlike display of culinary maternal affection, gave him a chewed-up piece of catfish, he got so excited he knocked over a glass of lemonade into the half-full basket of fried okra. It made a mess, but the okra, as good as it was before, almost tasted better with the extra lemonade flavor.

After this amusing incident, we settled down and sat in silence, enjoying the big portions and stuffing our faces with delight.

“Man,” said Leah, “This food is lip-smacking! That’s the only sound to be heard.”