Jump to content


Photo

Memphis and Nashville


  • Please log in to reply
143 replies to this topic

#1 Wilfrid1

Wilfrid1

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 42,108 posts

Posted 15 March 2005 - 07:14 PM

I may at long last get to visit these metropoli. I think there are already some BBQ tips in the forum somewhere, but all dining, drinking, accommodation and entertainment advice would be welcome.
Elect-a-lujah

***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.

If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#2 Ron Johnson

Ron Johnson

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 8,958 posts

Posted 15 March 2005 - 07:39 PM

(This is an excerpt from a magazine piece I did on Memphis)

While there is more to Memphis than rib-shacks and pulled pork sandwiches, slow-smoked shoulder and dry-rubbed ribs are not to be missed during a stay there. Most folks have heard about the ‘cue at Corky’s and the Rendezvous, and these joints became world-famous for a reason; good ribs and good pulled pork abound. Corky’s leapt ahead of the competition through consistency and a shrewd move to the suburbs back when most barbecue was offered in a more urban setting. The Rendezvous built its reputation on fine dry-rubbed ribs, its proximity to the Peabody Hotel, and the hospitality of the Vergos clan now in its second generation of running the place. The veteran wait-staff is reminiscent of Pat’s Steakhouse or Cunningham’s.

For those wanting to detour around the tourists make a stop at Neely’s, where a full-pound shoulder sandwich is the best bet or the Cozy Corner where the super hot sauce is just as billed and the Cornish Game Hens offer a nice change of pace from pork and more pork. Just outside of downtown, Interstate Bar-B-Q is a smart place to stop for lunch on the way to the casinos in Tunica, Mississippi. Known mainly for ribs and pulled pork, Interstate is also where the locals go for barbecue spaghetti. Finally, those in the far eastern suburbs will be well-fed at the Germantown Commissary where the slightly more upscale environment warrants new-fangled dishes like barbecue shrimp. Salads have been sighted on occasion as well.

Known as the arm-pit of Tennessee but the capital of Arkansas and Mississippi, Memphis is the urban destination for those in the region seeking high-end and upscale cuisine. Tourists should take advantage of the numerous innovative and classic restaurants in town that feature more than barbecue.

After several successive meals of smoked pork, visitors will welcome the off-beat, Caribbean flavors of the food at Automatic Slim’s Tonga Club. The brainchild of Memphis restaurant mogul Karen Blockman-Carrier and the oldest restaurant in her empire, Automatic Slim’s borrows the vibe from its Manhattan namesake and the cuisine of Jamaica, Latin America, and Mexico. Live entertainment is often on-tap as well, and El-Vez, the Mexican Elvis has played more than one impromptu show there. Even hotter is the Beauty Shop where Carrier has renovated a vintage salon into the hippest spot in the Cooper-Young district for New American cuisine, including a raw bar and rotisserie grilled meats.

For those seeking a more gentrified South, white linens are on the table and more familiar continental cuisine is on the menu at Michel Leny’s Café Society. Leny, a Belgian by way of Paris, is the gregarious and charming host who often jumps behind the stove to oversee the food that has kept Café Society on top of the Memphis restaurant scene for more than a decade. Located on a quiet, tree-lined street in the Evergreen Historic District, Café Society has a devoted clientele of neighborhood locals who are on a first name basis with much of the veteran staff.

The competition among the top restaurants in Memphis is stiff. One of the most formidable talents is a Danish-born, French-trained chef named Erling Jensen. His eponymous restaurant is the place for travelers seeking haute cuisine and the type of service warranted by a special occasion. Jensen was formerly the chef at La Tourelle, where Memphians have enjoyed classic French cuisine since 1977. The fine food and quaint Queen Anne Cottage, which gives it the name French name for “The Tower”, are only part of the reason it consistently ranks among the best French restaurants in town.

For those willing to tear themselves away from mounds of pulled pork and tubs of cole-slaw, Memphis offers a vibrant and diverse music scene ranging from straightforward blues to countrified rockabilly. Fortunately, most of this music can be enjoyed in juke-joints known as much for their grub as they are for their house band. Beale Street dominates the downtown scene, but those who seek out spots like Ernestine & Hazels are rewarded with juicy, hot-off-the-grill burgers, and ice-cold beers that taste just right after dancing the night away to best Stax records has to offer.

Huey’s in Midtown is everyone’s favorite place to shoot toothpicks into the ceiling while local jazz bands swing on Sunday nights, but the Huey Burger draws a crowd as well. While not a mecca for live music, the P&H Café has been drawing the late night musician and artist crowd for years. With initials that stand for Poor and Hungry, it’s easy to see why this place is known for good, cheap bar eats. For those determined to have a real locals-only experience, Alex’s Tavern is a must for a late-night burger made in the kitchen’s ancient cast-iron skillet.

Fino’s from the Hill was a hit from the day it opened in Midtown in the early 1990’s. Owners Joann and Terry Johnson decided Memphis needed a real Italian deli, and stocked this tiny storefront shop with everything from authentic Prosciutto di Parma to imported Sicilian olives. The real treats come from the kitchen where Joann plumbs her Sicilian roots to create sandwiches laden with cured meats and warm olive spread and hearty pastas slathered in her homemade red sauce. It’s also a great place to run into Memphis music royalty when Terry’s old buddies from Stax records come in to chow down and reminisce about his days as the drummer for the Mar-Keys.

There is enough slow-cooked pork in Memphis to feed an army and more than enough to fill every meal in a long weekend, but Memphis is more than just a barbecue town. No trip would be complete without tucking into a platter of dry-rubbed ribs at the Rendezvous or a spicy pulled pork sandwich at the Cozy Corner, but a visit to Memphis ought to include some of its other culinary delights as well. And remember, when in Memphis do as the Memphians do: eat, drink and be merry.

#3 bloviatrix

bloviatrix

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 8,324 posts

Posted 15 March 2005 - 07:39 PM

There's a fabulous hotel in downtown Nashville called the Wydham Union Station. It's in a converted train station and they managed to keep many of the architectural details.
Future Legacy Participant.

#4 Ron Johnson

Ron Johnson

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 8,958 posts

Posted 15 March 2005 - 07:41 PM

When are you going to be in Nashvegas? It's not far from Louisville.

#5 Wilfrid1

Wilfrid1

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 42,108 posts

Posted 15 March 2005 - 08:05 PM

Probably in May - I shall liaise with you when I know. Thanks for the tips above.

Keep them coming. A good place to stay in Memphis, for example?
Elect-a-lujah

***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.

If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#6 GordonCooks

GordonCooks

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,630 posts

Posted 15 March 2005 - 08:13 PM

My future in-laws reside (near Nashville) in Thompson's Station's Villes Burgs ..town whatever. I've dined at The Wild Boar with great results but I'm looking forward to a trip to Capitol Grille to try Sean Brock's culinary musings.
Jazz is musical improvisation; it is the art of the moment. In the recording of jazz, the inspiration and inventiveness of this moment is made permanent by technology, giving pleasure many years after the performance.

Photography is jazz for the eye. - William Claxton

#7 Ron Johnson

Ron Johnson

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 8,958 posts

Posted 15 March 2005 - 08:15 PM

Keep them coming. A good place to stay in Memphis, for example?

I like the Peabody Hotel. Right in the middle of things, nicely appointed, and a proper bar.

#8 Rail Paul

Rail Paul

    Advanced Member

  • Admin
  • PipPipPip
  • 23,679 posts

Posted 15 March 2005 - 08:25 PM

If any small children plan to join you on the Memphis adventure, the duck walk at the Peabody Hotel might be of interest.

Duck Parade


As noted above, the Wyndham Hotel in Nashville is located in the former Union Station. It's at the southern end of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad's original span.

Details of the Romanesque Hotel

If the Loveless Motel is still open, you might consider it for a meal. It's known for biscuits, country ham, and red-eye gravy. On the SW side of Nashville, I belieive.
Dreams come in all sizes, shapes, and colors.

#9 Tamar G

Tamar G

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,750 posts

Posted 15 March 2005 - 08:40 PM

get thee to the station inn for a great (small) music venue. Bluegrass/folk/country.

#10 Ron Johnson

Ron Johnson

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 8,958 posts

Posted 15 March 2005 - 09:11 PM

Here is a post on Nashville from a response I got another forum:

Basically, downtown is nothing but touristy. I wouldn't recommend anything down there. My favorite restaurants are in East Nashville (which is comparable to old Louisville type renaissance). In that area, I would recommend Margot Cafe or Chapel Bistro. If you venture to the West End area (near the Vanderbilt and Belmont Campus) I would recommend Bound'ry. The aforementioned being your more trendy Avalon type. If you are near Green Hills, I would recommend F. Scott's. I have heard good things about Park Cafe, but it is hard to get to. A medium priced, good food and bar selection would be South Street Grill which is barbeque and seafood, southern Alabama type restaurant. Unfortunately, I find Nashville's dining scene horrible. However, if you can find your way to Monell's for breakfast (just north of downtown), you won't regret it. It is an amazing, southern cooking, eating at your grandma's table, type of restaurant. There is a great Indian spot on 21st Ave.



#11 Wilfrid1

Wilfrid1

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 42,108 posts

Posted 15 March 2005 - 09:25 PM

I wasn't previously aware of Southern Alabaman cuisine. Wow, wow. I think a first-time visitor to Nashville should probably inspect the touristy elements, no?
Elect-a-lujah

***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.

If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#12 Ron Johnson

Ron Johnson

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 8,958 posts

Posted 15 March 2005 - 10:25 PM

I wasn't previously aware of Southern Alabaman cuisine. Wow, wow. I think a first-time visitor to Nashville should probably inspect the touristy elements, no?

Just passing along information. Knock yourself out at the Grand Ole Opry. :rolleyes:

#13 foodie52

foodie52

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 6,345 posts

Posted 15 March 2005 - 11:38 PM

Last time I was there, we ate here at the Beauty Shop. OK: it's kinda weird and eclectic, but the food was quite good.

Near Rhodes College there are some good coffee shops for breakfast. One is called "Outlands" or something??? Someone help me out here. Killer bagels and smoked salmon . Very funky.
[size="4"]Visit our website for updates...Friends of Colombian Orphans

Donations are always gratefully accepted.

#14 Chef/Writer Spencer

Chef/Writer Spencer

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 554 posts

Posted 15 March 2005 - 11:58 PM

I live in Memphis. It's a culinary black hole. Mediocrity reigns. Attach no romantic notions of seeing Graceland and reliving Elvis' last years in the Jungle room. The day MLK was shot the town stopped developing. Memphis is May, specifically the Music Fest, is the only fun thing about this town. April 29,30 and May 1st. Be there or be extremely bored.
I love eGullet. I love eGullet. eGullet loves me.

#15 foodie52

foodie52

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 6,345 posts

Posted 16 March 2005 - 12:28 AM

I liked Graceland....

Of course, I wouldn't EAT there...
[size="4"]Visit our website for updates...Friends of Colombian Orphans

Donations are always gratefully accepted.