McEwan's, Memphis

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dinner with family and new friends

The beauty of McEwan's is its location in Downtown Memphis. You can park at Parking Can Be Fun on Union and walk the 2 blocks to Madison, which is what Jackie and I did. It was a mild evening for the short jaunt. We were pleasantly greeted by the host and were shown to the cellar which is where they place large parties. Our party of 8 had us, Stephen and Counts Louise Shanks, Zach and Darci Kent and Ashley and Rick Woods, all of Northwest Arkansas. We had a prompt and fabulous waitress named Bennett that immediately got our drink orders. I saw a blend under the reds, Left Bank, South Africa 2008, a blend of Cab-Shiraz-Merlot. It was smooth and full-bodied. Jackie ordered a New Belgium Fat Tire, Shanks had a Maker's Mark and the rest of the men and ladies all had reds. Maybe some mixed drinks were in there, but I didn't look too close at that end of the table. We also found a very flavorful Zinfandel, MD Phillips, Seven Deadly Sins, Lodi 2007. This California wine was fruity and medium bodied with cinnamon and licorice tones to it and was great with our dinner.

Bennett was back with our drinks and took our appetizer order. Yes, cringing here. Counts Louise loves their Buttermilk Fried Oysters with Spicy Mustard Plum Sauce and claims they are the best in Memphis, all agreed, I think. Also ordered was the BBQ Duck Confit Enchiladas and were delish, according to Jackie. I didn't partake of these but I did indulge in the homemade buttermilk biscuits which were passed and reloaded several times around our table and they were fantastic. Just what a diabetic needed, more carbs? I had only one and it was just what I needed with my Left Bank blend.

On to dinner, with a fabulous get-to-know you conversation, we all finally ordered. I started first, only because I was at the head of the table. Generally I like to be last because I like to hear what everyone else is doing on the ordering and I don't order the same exact thing as Jackie. I did order the Small Plate Warm Hazelnut Goat Cheese Salad, featuring Memphis' Bonnie Blue Farm Goat Cheese, grilled pears, mixed greens and featured an apple champagne vinaigrette. Let me tell you, this salad reminded me of my favorite salad I do at home with a warm goat cheese-style crouton with homemade dressing on greens...divine, I had to hold back from wiping the plate clean with my fingers in front of our new friends! I'd hate to get a bad reputation, so I refrained. The beauty of the small plate is that it was, a small plate. Just look at Counts Louise's mushroom salad compared to mine (pic 3 was hers, pic 4 mine). Alighty then...

For dinner I ordered the Pan Seared Chilean Seabass (pic #5) with an orange soy glaze, shitake mushroom risotto and sauteed spinach. Well, OMG, yes that's oh my gosh, wonderful. It was absolutely the right size after my perfect sized salad. The seabass was cooked perfectly and I really liked the risotto and spinach until I tried Jackie's greens....he ordered the Sweet Potato Crusted Catfish (pic #2) with creole honey mustard, mac and cheese, yes I said mac and cheese and braised collard greens. Now this was something I was sad I didn't order. The mac and cheese was served with long, curly noodles and the greens were hot and blessed with vinegar. Luckily Jackie tolerated passing his plate around and sharing a taste of the mac and greens to all of us. I've never had greens this good. They were succulent and amazing and hot. I loved it! Stephen, sitting super close, allowed me to try his steak, he ordered the Tenderloin and substituted his mashed potatoes for the purple potato and squash au gratin...OMG again, was fabulous. It was nice that everyone at the table enjoyed sharing a fork or spoonful of their food with me. They were all blessed with southern hospitality.

Of course for dessert, I had hot black coffee, most in our party ordered coffee with shots on the side but my hot coffee was hitting the spot. And of course, upstairs in the ladies room I could hear everyone in the cellar, located exactly below the bathroom. I mean EVERY word...hum, I did wonder what I was talking about when everyone else in the ladies room throughout our 3 hour meal. Yes, 3 hours. And the ladies room was clean and well supplied, by the way. We were out of there, full and we were glad to have met Stephen and Counts' friends, we had some great laughs. There were many quotes from the night that I'll leave to your imagination...

Ohh McEwan's. It was our sixth visit to this culinary diamond in downtown Memphis. It was wonderful and we'll be back Chefs David Johnson and Sous Chef Keith Bambrick. It is always lovely at McEwan's.

McEwan's, 122 Monroe, Memphis, Tennessee, 901-527-7085

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