Man Food: The Soul Food Sampler at Fill Belly's in Jamaica Plain

While the mac and soul casserole is packed with flavor, the rest of the comfort food underwhelms.

Photo by Katie Barszcz

Fill Belly’s, the Jamaica Plain brick-and-mortar replacement for the soul food truck of the same name, is minimalist, charming, and even seems a tad sketchy at first. The outdoor paint job is a bold graffiti-inspired mural, while the interior is very no-frills. I was unsure of what to expect—would this be a new and exciting eating adventure? Or a totally underwhelming experience? After trying the soul food sampler (chicken and waffles, classic mac and cheese, mac and soul casserole, and “Bosilitos,” $8), I’ll have to put Fill Belly’s somewhere in between the two.

The sampler size is impressive; it’s more than enough for one and would likely fill up two. Instead of appearing in mere seconds, it’s cooked to order, which I found reassuring. Attacking the chicken and waffles was my first move; the sweet cinnamon-flavored waffle, a nice rendition of the classic breakfast treat, was crispy with a bit of chew. The fried chicken, meanwhile, was juicy, with a nice crust, but pretty bland.

While the classic-style mac and cheese was an oven-baked version of the comfort food staple, the mac and soul casserole, stuffed with collard greens and sweet potatoes, was packed with flavor. The Bosilitos, chef/owner Boswell Scott’s rendition of empanadas, are odd little creatures; they’re a bit thinner than typical empanadas, and come in two varieties: bbq pork and pineapple curry chicken. The latter was much better, brimming with moist chicken, sweet pineapple and a robust curry. The bbq variety, however, tasted like it was made with bottled sauce.

It’s easy to love the super cheap price tag at Fill Belly’s, but I’m not sure if it’s enough to warrant a return visit. You get a big plate of decent food, sure, but it’s not as warm and comforting as I’d expect from a menu so devoted to serving up soul food.

(Fill Belly’s, 3381 Washington Street, Jamaica Plain, 857-417-3535)

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