Okay, I know this is Memphis and that we don’t really have the heritage or the bands, or the flavor, but Chef Kelly English “got that fire” (I stole that from a Chef Jeff episode – sue me, lol) so I have to jumpstart this with a little bit of Rebirth Brass Band getting the second line going in the NOLA. So… click this, scroll down and continue reading.
Alright I got your ears all perked up and now let’s get your eyes ready and that Pavlov reflex going with some food talk. I’ve done a review of another New Orleans styled restaurant in Dejavu and again I have to say New Orleans shines in the Bluff City. The Second Line is Chef English’s little brother restaurant to Restaurant Iris. I don’t have to pile up accolades on Chef, this has been done already. My goal in dropping this food review is to really add on to the rich food venues already presented here on the site. What I’d like, as I have said before, is for Memphis to develop a consistent theme as Food City USA or Restaurant City USA. Memphis is hands down one of the few places where if the restaurant you decided to go to is full, it doesn’t take long to find a comparable spot that has great prices and incredible food. Second Line is located in the fast growing Overton Square district at the Corner of Monroe and Cooper Ave. The building is a home that has been redistricted for commercial purposes and has valet parking (which is needed because parking in Overton Square can be hit or miss). The inside has about ten tables and a bar with three televisions. Second Line is a great place to catch a game, or for a dinner with friends. The service is incredible. I’m talking a ticket time of less than 12 minutes and a drink menu for those who like to partake of a variety of spirits (wink, wink). Our server was Shelby who moved in the small space like nimble dancer taking care of her tables with a cool, calm demeanor that enhanced the neighborhood feel. She also made great suggestions which is always a help. The restaurant features an outdoor deck with a bar for spring and summer nights when the weather is not so dang opressive in Memphis. On this night it was cold and when we entered it was crowded. We were told we could be seated in about 30 minutes. Now dig this, two of the patrons who had a bigger table volunteered to move to the bar which created a chain event where other people shifted and instead of waiting 30 minutes, we were seated in about 8 minutes… on Valentine’s Day…big ass thumbs up on that one. Enough of that though, let’s get to the pics.
Since it was Valentine’s and I was treating the ladies to a meal, they ordered for us. My wife, LV, had
- the fried gulf shrimp plate with a side of red beans and rice: LV said the batter on the shrimp was more like what you would find on a catfish platter. The cole slaw had a vinegar kick to it which made for a mouthwatering bite. She also added that the red beans and rice should actually be an entree on the “other stuff” list. In other words they were so good, she was tempted to order more.
My daughter who really doesn’t eat a lot shared LV’s plate, but also ordered herself some onion rings. I forgot we did jumpstart the meal with an order of meat pies from the “eat these things first” list. The meat pies, if you haven’t had them before, are like an empanada filled with meat and spices. For me I usually like mine with a jerk kick since I associate meat pies with the islands, but these were fried to perfection creating a flaky crust and the filling was seasoned well. Could they have been bigger? Of course, but I know first hand that stretching and keeping dough flat is a hard thing to do. I had:
the chicken and andouille gumbo + cornbread: the kitchen went traditional with the cornbread by cooking it in a cast iron oval skillet and topping it with butter. They turn the smoke up a bit by baking in jalapenos which offered enough spice when breaking the corn bread and tossing it into the gumbo. The okra was firm and that bite of cornbread, jalapeno, sausage and roux was so good, I finished the bowl and complained that there wasn’t more cornbread.
We finished off dinner of course by ordering dessert. I had: the bread pudding w/vanilla bean gelato – alright dammit … I don’t have any words for the all the darn goodness in these desserts. Yep, I’m talking about both of these desserts because I ate mine and I helped finish off LV’s (which she actually shared with our daughter, that tells you how big this glass was. The bread pudding was warm and topped with pralines (you can’t have a NOLA styled bread pudding without pralines!). When LV jumped into her Goo Goo parfait she stopped and shook her head. These are her words, “This is chocolatey heaven in my mouth, just like you big daddy.”
Okay, she didn’t say that. I was having what I guess was a 50 Shades moment. I didn’t read it, but I’m just guessing that’s the kind of stuff there. Seriously, she said that it seemed like someone took the ingredients of a Snickers, hand made them, layered them in the glass and topped it off with whip cream. It was so rich that she and our daughter couldn’t finish it. Well, I had a bit of bread pudding left over and I had blazed through my gelato. It only seemed natural to add that goo goo to my bread pudding and make boo boo, lol. (which boo boo was inevitable after this meal… too much? kinda ruined the review? nah? okay cool)
Total ticket: 71.01
Tip: 12.00 (Shelby was a cool host and hey I’m compensating for the “Blacks don’t tip” stereotype)
My overall thoughts: I gotta get my ass over to Restaurant Iris! Another Memphis Hi-Lite! If Memphis doesn’t begin to brand itself as Restaurant City USA I’m driving down to city hall, kicking in the door and making Mayor Wharton go with me to every restaurant til he gets the picture… on his dime of course. Check out Second Line below.