Taste Buds

photos by Matt Cornelius
photos by Matt Cornelius

Taste Buds

A Tay’sful Time

You asked, and we listened. This month’s food review comes from a local restaurant that is not on everyone’s radar (yet). Tay’sful Kitchen is located in the “circle of Wake Village” at 607 Redwater Road, across from Domino’s Pizza. Taylor Smith, the owner of Tay’sful Kitchen, is as genuine as they come. She was professional, polite, and courteous from the minute we sat down. The only thing better than the service was the smell. You could smell love in the air. Well, our kind of love, anyway.

Before Tay’sful opened on February 8, 2023, Taylor expressed her passion for food by cooking lunches in her kitchen for her mom to take to work at CHRISTUS St. Michael Hospital. Others caught on quickly, and Taylor soon fed many hungry medical professionals daily. With glowing reviews from CHRISTUS St. Michael staff and a fast-growing reputation, Taylor started cooking more and catering various events. Finally, Taylor’s following grew so much that she decided it was time to open up shop, and Tay’sful Kitchen was born. Thank you, Taylor; the people of the greater Texarkana area needed Tay’sful Kitchen.

The first time we dined at Tay’sful Kitchen was on a Wednesday. If you are one of the fortunate ones who have eaten here before, you know this specific day of the week is Wing Wednesday. When we ordered wings for the appetizer, Taylor flipped it back to us by asking, “Clothed or naked?” If you are a wing fan, you know that question refers to whether you want the wings breaded or not. Being that it was our first time there, and needing to provide our readers with good, sensible direction, we ordered them half and half. Now, two places (which we won’t mention) come to mind when thinking about wings, both of which are in trouble after sampling Taylor’s rendition of this staple item. They were simply fantastic. The wings were cooked to perfection, with the outside crunchy and the meat juicy and falling off the bone. They were massive, in a good way! The only problem was that we were too stubborn to let them cool before devouring the entire basket. We found ourselves doing that thing where we were trying to talk to each other about how great the wings were while trying to chew and cool the bite off with our breath at the same time. It did not work out well, but it wasn’t hard to figure out what the other was trying to convey. If we had to pick one, we preferred the breaded because, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a perfectly fried chicken wing? We had our wings dusted in a lemon pepper seasoning, but that is just one of many flavors she offers. We will definitely be back on a Wednesday to try the rest.

After devouring the wings, bones and all (just kidding), it was time to decide what to get for the main dishes, which proved much more difficult than either of us anticipated. We studied the menu intensely and scoped out every picture on Tay’sful’s social media before arriving, and we thought we had a plan. But as lovers of all things seafood, buttery, and Cajun-spiced, all bets were off when we walked through those doors.

Taylor Smith, owner of Tay’sful Kitchen in Wake Village

Andrew—I willingly chose the daily special, “The Fix,” which consisted of a hearty piece of blackened salmon and five juicy grilled shrimp on a bed of Cajun fried rice. If that wasn’t enough, it also came with a side of street corn covered in a creamy, buttery Cajun sauce and a side of garlic broccoli that will make you want to slap yo mama. The salmon was perfectly cooked with a nice crust of blackening seasoning drizzled with a light creamy Cajun sauce that would only have been better had it been served with a straw. It’s one of those sauces that you’re not upset about when it drips on your shirt because hours/days later, when you’re at home scrubbing the stain out, it brings back wonderful memories about the meal and reminds you to go back soon (this happens to us often). The Cajun fried rice paired perfectly with the grilled shrimp, which was pulled together by, you guessed it, the SAUCE! If you love corn on the cob, you might want to double up on this side. And yes, I was wearing the creamy Cajun sauce from ear to ear (no pun intended). I cannot forget the steamed garlic broccoli. If you are not a fan of creole, seafood, or anything else you may come across at Tay’sful Kitchen (which is highly unlikely), you must stop and get a side of this broccoli. There’s no telling how many spankings I might have been spared growing up if this was the broccoli my parents served me as a child. The garlic sauce drizzle was not overpowering and aligned perfectly with the overall flavor of the plate! I even brought a side of broccoli to the co-worker who recommended Tay’sful Kitchen to us!

Kyle—I ordered the “Tacklebox,” a regular item on the menu, but in no way does “regular” describe this wonderful dish. The Tacklebox included eight juicy shrimp stir-fried over garlic steamed broccoli and Cajun fried rice, and as you might have guessed, it also comes with a side of corn, a Cajun boiled egg, and an egg roll with sweet dipping sauce. If anyone knows me, then you know that I will most certainly get the most Asian-inspired dish on any menu, so it is no surprise that the stir-fried dish with an egg roll caught my eye. This dish was da bomb! (Shout out to the 90’s.) But in all seriousness, this entire plate was an explosion of flavor. The shrimp were grilled perfectly, and when combined with the garlic steamed broccoli, corn, Cajun fried rice (all honored above), and the thin layer of melted butter that had accumulated on the bottom of the plate, what else do you need? The answer is a Cajun-boiled egg and an eggroll with sweet dipping sauce. Having never had a Cajun boiled egg, we did a little investigating and contemplating, and this is what we came up with...

Imagine a Saturday afternoon crawfish boil with your friends. You’re outside, enjoying the warm weather, the sun is shining, you get the water rolling in the pot, throw in your seasonings, and toss in some lemons, oranges, and some spice to kick it up a notch. Just as the water starts to turn that deep red/orange color, you turn to grab your swamp lobsters and toss them in. Wait, oh no, Billy forgot to pick up the crawfish. So, what do you do? You go to the fridge, find the pack of five dozen eggs your spouse impulsively bought at Sam’s, and think, “What the heck, let’s do this!” That’s what these Cajun-boiled eggs taste like. Simply fantastic.

Nothing brings a meal home like a crispy, crunchy egg roll with a sweet dipping sauce. Hard on the outside, soft on the inside, perfection, rolled up in a wonton wrapper, just how we like it.

Tay’sful Kitchen was an excellent restaurant with a great owner and caring, attentive staff. They are open daily from Tuesday to Thursday (11-7), Friday and Saturday (11-8), and serve brunch on Saturday and Sunday (11-3). We highly recommend you follow Tay’sful Kitchen on social media for more information on daily specials and pictures of their incredible food.


< Previous Story Next Story >

Print Edition

May 2023
Print Archive



© 2024 All Rights Reserved.
Design By: WebProJoe.com Web Design