What exactly makes a Memphis Hi-Lite? The first thing is that the location has to be in Memphis, obviously. The second? Well, it has to be a location that either provides an upscale atmosphere, or the perfect atmosphere for either date night or family night. The final attribute? The location has to grant the visitor an escape from what people typically associate with the city. This last one pretty much allows any place in Memphis to be considered a Hi-Lite considering the only thing Memphis is known for is the First 48 television show and Elvis…
After visiting several cities in the past year or so, New Orleans, Orlando, Nashville, Washington D.C., San Diego, and multiple small cities throughout the south, I’ve come to the conclusion that if Memphis is to gain ground as a tourist attraction it has to do a better job of flaunting more than Beale Street and Elvis or the Fed Ex Forum as a reason to visit. Memphis needs to really spend the time investing in its real tourist value: FOOD! On our last excursion to a Memphis Hi-Lite (for our wedding anniversary) we chose Flight Restaurant (http://flightmemphis.com)
Flight fits the bill as a Hi-Lite for every reason listed. The facade of the building caters to its name in that the Flight Wings logo on the outside of the building hint that you are about to leave your normal routine and enter a place that is going to sweep you away into another ‘Memphis’. The atmosphere and decor is very New Orleans in its presentation, and the staff makes you feel like a VIP upon arrival. With complimentary valet parking, you simply have to pull up and exit the vehicle to begin your Flight. The inside is a mix of art, and a subdued color palette which allows the tables covered by white linen to place the focus on the food as it begins to arrive. Our server (Shakiera- who was courteous and extremely helpful in guiding us in our Flight… although I went into Wyclef-‘Hips Don’t Lie’ territory a bit too much) was a lot like a Flight Attendant in that shoe catered to our table with speed and consistency. She and an abundance of staff kept the glasses filled and the tables cleared (which is very important because Flight uses a lot of settings for the variety of food.). Oh, before I forget, a lot of restaurants could benefit from visiting and learning from Flight. With each individual entree presented, there was a new set of silverware brought out the the table.
How and why does Flight charter as one of the best experiences for dining in Memphis? It’s all in the name. Flight’s are smaller selections of entrees which allows you to try a number of options in a meal. Instead of bringing you one large appetizer, entree and dessert, you can “Flight” your meal and break it down into individual portions. Still not following me? Put it like this, if you can’t make up your mind, you don’t have to. Well, you do, but the ability to choose individual serving sizes creates an atmosphere of sharing at your table. It’s like bringing all of your favorite dishes and then letting your friends share without feeling like you really don’t want to share. 🙂 The menu is broken down into 4 entree categories with 3 options in each section. Enough of that, let’s get into the pics and how much we enjoyed our anniversary (Oh LV got a complimentary Classic Creme Brulee that was perfectly toasted). Here is our order.
Appetizer: (personal note) honestly, the appetizer menu could be flighted and you would never have to order from the entree menu. LV really enjoyed the Coconut Crusted Shrimp. I preferred the Tempura because of the stuffed mushrooms that was included in the order.
Ocean Flight: Tempura Caribbean Lobster, Jumbo Lump Crab Gratin, Coconut Crusted Shrimp
Salads: (personal note) The Watermelon and Feta is a refreshing option! Who would have thought to serve onion with watermelon?
Watermelon and Feta-Watermelon, Feta Cheese, Mint, Red Onion and Balsamic Goat
Cheese and Cajun Pecan Salad-Mixed Greens, Dried Cherries and Cranberries, Crispy Bacon Goat Cheese and Spiced Pecans with White Balsamic Vinaigrette
Iceberg Wedge Salad– Roquefort Blue Cheese, Bacon, Grape Tomatoes and Blue Cheese Dressing
Soups: (personal note) LV had the soup, but we traded the Iceberg Salad and her Soup of the Day which was a cold soup: Strawberry Gazpacho which actually complimented the Lobster Bisque perfectly and balanced the flavors.
Soup of the Day
Entrees: (personal note) We did a serious number in mixing and matching the Flight categories and came up with our own personal favorites off the menu. My favorite entree was the Chicken & Waffles (yes I went Roscoes on this selection, I couldn’t help it) I did also enjoy the Seafood Stuffed Flounder which you will notice on both of our selections. LV enjoyed the Fish of the Day which had an interesting beet rice combination (we can’t remember the name.. ooops). The only flight that didn’t lift my wings was the Shrimp & Grits. This was primarily because the Tasso Ham gravy wasn’t quite what I expected and actually diminished the cajun rice flavor. I would have preferred a more cajun spicy flavor. What we had is below.
Seafood Stuffed Flounder: Local Spring Vegetables, Miso Lemon Brown Butter (the asparagus was excellent!!!)
Alaskan White Bass: Creamy Jasmine Rice, Lemongrass Broth, Mango Salsa
Chicken and Waffles: Ashley Farms Chicken Breast, Buttermilk Waffle,Vermont Maple Syrup and Local Mushroom Cream
Shrimp and grits: Shrimp, Mushrooms and Tasso Ham over Cajun Spiced Grits
Flight Restaurant is the best upscale dining experience in Memphis and is definitely a Memphis Hi-Lite. The menu is reasonably priced and the servings are excellent especially when you consider the Flight options. I highly recommend it for this Friday which is Trolley Night (Last Friday every month) which will allow you to walk down Main towards South Main to get a little exercise in after your meal. Reservation is highly recommended!
Flight Restaurant: http://flightmemphis.com/
39 South Main
Oh snap! I forgot the Dessert. Awwww shizzles, lol.
Along with the Creme brulee, we also added:
Key Lime Pie: Vanilla Curd, Creamsicle Sorbet
Memphis Belle Pie: Georgia Pecans and Dark Chocolate
Warm Peach Crumble: Butter Pecan Ice Cream
Please excuse the stain on the cloth… I was in Cookie Monster mode.