Saturday, November 04, 2006

From: Paul Ryburn's Journal

First impression: EP's Delta Kitchen and Bar on Beale Street: AWESOME

Tonight, after a couple of beers at the Tap Room, I stumbled into EP's Delta Kitchen and Bar, located in the old Elvis Presley's Memphis building at Second and Beale. Now, I had to get by there at some point this week and then write about it in my blog, because my friend and former neighbor Mike (who used to be the chef at McEwen's) is at EP's now and designed the menu. "All right," I thought. "If this place sucks as much as Elvis Presley's Memphis did, I'll bury it in a ____day Update post and give it two sentences in the middle of nine other bullet points."

EP's gets its own post.

EP's gets its own post and my recommendation to GO THERE AND EAT. AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Let's start out with the decor: It's superb. Think Swig, Dish, Bluefin, but with the soul of Beale Street. The furniture, the lighting, the music, make it feel hip, yet you never forget where you are.

I asked the staff for a few recommendations. One that was pointed out repeatedly was the pork loin stuffed with house-made sausage. Comes with sweet cornbread pudding and creole mustard demiglace.

Another popular recommendation was the stuffed portabella mushrooms with shrimp, spinach, and caramelized onions. Another was the fried green tomatoes with tomatilla sauce and pear compote - "we're taking fried green tomatoes to a whole new level." Also highly recommended was the smoked duck seafood gumbo. But really, just ask to look at the menu. You can't go wrong. They told me they want to be on a level with Stella, McEwen's, Felicia Suzanne's, etc. within a year, and based on the menu they're already there on their second day.

By the time I got there, they had rolled off the regular menu and onto their late night menu. From that, I had the Lobster Pronto Pup - a corn dog, but with lobster rather than a hot dog inside, over a bed of greens - SO good. Also recommended on the late night menu is the nachos with sweet potato chips, pepper jack and crawfish.

To drink, I had a peanut butter and banana cocktail, with Godiva liqueur, 99 Bananas, vodka and amaretto. It comes garnished with a banana chip. Yummy.

As Mike the chef explained it to me, EP's knows they'll draw tourists solely based on location but "we want to cater to locals. We want a place where they can relax and feel at home. We don't expect to see the same people every night of the week, but we want it to be the place they go when their mother comes to town to visit. (Attn Mama: when you come to town, we need to eat here) We want it to be the place you bring Uncle Todd for his 56th birthday."

For those Downtowners who go to a bar for the people as much as for the food and drinks, Ugly Steve (formerly of the Tap Room/King's Palace) is bartending downstairs, and Hooper (formerly of Dan McGuinness Pub, and before that, Downtown Huey's) is upstairs.

I asked how late they planned on staying open tonight - some places that are more restaurant than bar close early. "Oh, we'll be here until about 2:45," I was told.

This place SO makes me wish I had a girl I was seriously interested in so I could take her to dinner there. If this place doesn't impress, I don't know what will.

Attn Rapscallions: Dinner at EP's after trivia Tuesday night?

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