Growing up on a cold, blue water lake in the Midwest, I ate my fair share of catfish—even at breakfast. This is when my dad would walk into the kitchen with a platter of fish he had reeled in earlier that morning. Caught in the cold, clear water, the flesh of catfish is mild and flaky, with none of the mushy, muddy undertones that characterize catfish caught in less pristine conditions. Truly great catfish is worth seeking out, and you can find it at the Catfish King, which opened this month in Aurora’s Iliff Commons in what was once Shead’s Rib & Fish Hut.

Larry G. Washington manages the single location owned by the Catfish King LLC, and he focuses on an array of generously portioned catfish entrées served blackened, whole, filleted, or as nuggets. The golden-brown catfish fillet is the star with two enormous, bone-free cuts encased in delicate cornmeal crust that yields tender, flaky flesh. Served on buttered slices of white toast and fresh greens, the dish comes with a cranberry-laced side salad and two sides. I found the soulful collard greens perfectly seasoned and the hush puppies spot-on, while the mac and cheese was just ho-hum. But the catfish, oh that catfish, brings back my childhood with every bite.

Bonus: Customers also flock to the Catfish King for the chicken, shrimp, beef, and pork platters served fried, grilled, or barbecued with a host of Southern-style sides.

12203 E. Iliff Ave., #H, Aurora, 720-961-9004