Sac’s Southern soul
Mo’ Betta Finger Foods
Mo’ Betta Finger Foods3751 Stockton Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95820
Coming home to the aroma of frying gizzards on the stove when I was a child meant my mother was in a good mood. Often served with an extra helping of mac ’n’ cheese, gizzards were a cheap and tasty way for my mom to bring our family together. So when I heard Mo’ Betta Finger Foods served Fried Gizzards ($10.50, call ahead), I was excited to go have a taste. Boiled overnight and coated with well-seasoned batter, the chewy morsels of rich dark meat did not disappoint.
When it comes to home-style, Southern-fried specialties, Mo' Betta Finger Foods doesn't stop at gizzards. There are many other Southern soul favorites on the menu—some I was unfamiliar with—including Alligator Nuggets (basket $18.50), fried and rubbery, but not unpleasant, with a mild chicken flavor. More bone than bite, the delicate meat on the Frog Leg (a la carte $3.75) had a slightly sour, swampy taste underneath its heavily seasoned encasing. Although I was slow to warm up to the frog and alligator, my companion gulped them up and washed them down with handfuls of cornmeal encrusted Fried Okra ($5), as addictive as corn nuts, but tastier.
The “Seasoned Just Right” Basa ($15.50) was just that, generously portioned and fried light and flaky, without being too fishy. Mo' Betta also has some of the juiciest, plumpest fried wings out there. The Hennessy Wings ($7.75) delighted with a thick, sweet glaze, and the Wing Dings ($6) were as good and crispy as any plate of fried chicken, especially dipped in some hot sauce. The Salt and Pepper Wings ($7.75) were fried naked and had an enjoyably spicy heat.
At Mo' Betta, most everything is cooked to order, and nothing says home-style more than their sides. There's the regular Mac & Cheese ($3), creamy, with a dash of Old Bay; or a local favorite, the Seafood Mac & Cheese ($4), stuffed with real shrimp and crawfish. The Red Beans and Rice ($3) had a vibrant and meaty bean stew flavor and the Yams ($3) were so sweet and tender like they'd been marinating in butter and brown sugar forever.
Desserts are just as down-home and real as the rest of the menu at $5 a piece. 'Nilla Wafers in their Bread Pudding, anyone? Peach Cobbler made with fruit cocktail and cinnamon, and maybe a sprinkle of brown sugar. Don't forget Sweet Potato Pie and the oldie but goodie Sock-it-to-me Cake (butter cake with crumbly streusel).
Pretty much anything on the menu can be ordered a la carte, or as basket meals, so there's lots of room (and items) to try everything. A lot of places claim to be home-style but aim to “elevate” their cuisine into something more fancy or presentable to the restaurant industry. Mo' Betta reminds me of my mother's home-cooked dinners, right down to the unabashed use of salt and pepper. There's no pretense—just good food to be eaten and enjoyed.