Memphis Hi-Lites: Hog & Hominy

IMG_20150621_191157I have found the holy grail of restaurant ambiance. Hold on, let me start that again. With all of the restaurant reviews on CBP, I’ve finally decided to give my superlatives to a couple of places… That’s for another post, but it definitely fits this post because of where I was taken on Father’s Day.

I’ve been stating over and over that the first person who creates a tour based on restaurants in Memphis will be a millionaire. I can now say this again with certainty as just when I begin to feel that I’ve found every spot worthy of a post in this section, I find another one. Now, I have to state that I think the world has known about Hog & Hominy for a while since they were rated one of GQ Magazine’s top rated restaurants. I’ve even heard of the restaurant a few times, but I just didn’t find the name very appealing. I’ve been completely underwhelmed by Memphis’ bar-b-que (Yep I said it), so a name like Hog & Hominy just felt like Grits and Ribs which didn’t get the old motor revving to visit.

Then Father’s Day 2015 happened. LV (my wife) wanted to avoid a crowd so she packed the family into the car on Friday and we headed over to Hog & Hominy.

There was no where to park.

So, now I’m interested. I know Friday night’s are notorious for date nights and eating, but typically Memphis’ traffic flows to Broad, Overton Square, or Cooper Young. Which means that those restaurants that are not in the “hot” spots are usually about a 10-15 minute wait. We couldn’t even find parking and I thought to myself, “damn it! I’m coming back and you better satisfy me!!!!” in my pirate voice. So Sunday rolls around and unlike the regular dads who have jobs, I had to work. Owning a business never stops. I get everything finished around 5:30 and we pile into the ride and head over to Poplar and Brookhaven Circle. What do you know… it’s not crowded! There are parking spots (Yes!). We climb out and begin walking towards the building; which is more of a house… kind of like Second Line which is cool with me since my dining experience there was great as well.

We walk in and are immediately seated. Our server, Theron, pours our water and gets the lowdown on whether we’ve eaten there before. We tell him no and he gets this grin on his face like, “Awwwww shiggity! You Mofos bout to throw down!” Okay, that was a bit much, but he does look like he is just as excited for our meal as we will be. I look around and realize that every table is actually filled. We basically got kind of lucky (insert Daft Punk song here).  Oh, speaking of music, typically a restaurant has televisions but I don’t really recall any restaurants with theme music. As we sit down, back to back Michael Jackson songs come on, then a little bit of David Bowie and some random rock song that only I knew, but the music contributed to what I am calling (trumpet fanfare) The Best Ambiance For A Restaurant In Memphis (End trumpet fanfare). The inside of the restaurant was bright with natural light. There was an open airy feel. We didn’t even make it outside to the Bocce Ball courts, but I did hit the head (for you non Navy folk that’s bathroom). Major props for a very, very clean bathroom! Next to the bathroom was a door that held books kind of like a breakfast nook.

Theron (Is it me or every time I write Theron I want to also write Greyjoy?) explained that the plates where basically designed to share. I’m really starting to like the idea of tappas/small plates/flights. While I’ve already labeled Rizzos as The Best Restaurant in Memphis and they don’t really do small plates, I think when I’m rolling with the family or if I’m hanging with the fellas (which I don’t really do) small plates are a perfect way to dine. We looked over our menus and instead of picking on our own we asked for a little guidance and chose from the options that Theron said we couldn’t go wrong with. Which wasn’t as easy as it could have been since every time I said, “This one,” he responded, “Oooooohhhh that’s also gooooddddd.” Enough of that though. Here is what we ended up ordering, (sidenote: the Brunch menu is served all day on Sundays…mindblown)

Drinks: These drinks are made at the bar and are non alcoholic… which is good since our seven year old really gets tilted which she’s tossing them back like Jamie Foxx – that’s a joke)

LV had the Grapefruit Ginger Soda (this drink is on par with The Pharmacy’s handmade sodas)

The kids had the Lemonade (equally as good)

I had the Stormy Breeze (I’d like to lie and tell you what was in it… but I can’t remember. I just know it was freaking fantastic.)

Snacks (appetizers)SWEETBREADS | spicy peanut agrodolce, jalapeno-cilantro vinaigrette

Alright, I have to admit I didn’t know what sweetbread was. Honestly, I still don’t… but it was breaded and it had a meaty texture and … (insert holy dizzam Batman words here because I just Bing/Googled Sweetbread) it’s a gland! A freakin gland? What damn gland? From what animal? I’m officially naming Theron “Reek” for the rest of this post.  I’m overreacting. The Sweetbread had some spice to it and the sauce was banging! Without going into the meal portion to far we also had a pizza. Primarily because Theron/Reek wouldn’t allow us to not have pizza. He explained that these hand crafted jewels are the prize of the restaurant. We ordered the: THUNDERBIRD! FORTY TWICE! | fontina, mozzarella, parmesan, pepperoni, calabrese, honey

Here is a tweetable (is that a word?)

[bctt tweet=”order the sweetbread and a pizza and then dip your pizza crust into the sweetbread sauce!”]

That Thunderbird pizza… BOOM!

Brunch: Our daughter had the BLUEBERRY PANCAKES | porcelain’s bacon, compressed fruit, amaretto syrup  Well, she didn’t have it all. Since we shared the pizza, and sweetbread, it was only fair that I get to have some of her bacon and one of those blueberry pancakes. Now, this wasn’t that IHOP half a blueberry, artificial blueberry garbage. I’m also not sure of why they called this compressed fruit because we had big ass whole blueberries in that joint! So good… (insert mental picture of Homer Simpson drooling).

My son had the GUT BOMB | biscuit, scrambled egg, pepperjack, porcellino’s bacon, grits  Whoever had the bright idea to make a homestyled biscuit and add grits to it, God Bless You and America.

I added a side order of HANNA FARM GRITS| which was explained to me that they were local (Shout out Project Green Fork and locally sourced restaurants!!!!) They were ridiculously good and even better when I took some of my son’s biscuit from his Gut Bomb (which he didn’t miss at all).

LV ordered CRAB CLAWS | lemon confit, butter, parsley, panna gratta which I don’t think she shared at all. I kind of remember her offering and then I heard a vacuum and they were gone.

Desserts: We couldn’t make our first visit and not get dessert. Besides while we were eating, the food was so light that we didn’t feel like we had eaten very much at all. Theron/Reek (yep I’m still on my Reek thing since I ate glands) was once again excited for us. He was also gliding through the restaurant seamlessly which was amazing considering by the time we ordered dessert there was a line at the door. The place was crowded and I commented on how efficient the restaurant was. The servers all moved like a creepy unit, with one mind. Now that I think about it, they all had on plaid as well, hmmmm maybe they were robots. The service was just a bit too good for humans. Our desserts finally gave us a dessert to come back to a restaurant for.