One of the perks of writing this blog is that my friends send me information about and recommendations for places to go eat. This happened a couple of weeks ago when the Counselor sent me an article on restaurants getting behind the small plate craze from Memphis Magazine (check it out for info on Bar None, Bari, Erling Jensen, and The Grove Grill).
Next thing I know, the Counselor is setting up after work drinks at the new Erling Jensen bar, so here we go!
First things first, we wanted to try out some of the small cheese plates. These paired a good cheese with a well thought out grouping of other ingredients for some fun little tasting plates. First up was the Marinated Manchego Cheese with Roasted Red Bell Pepper
Spanish Style Chorizo Sausage.
Manchego is one of my favorite cheeses. It as a good texture and sharp flavor. I know that isn’t a very descriptive description, but it’s all I’ve got. In this combo, the spicy chorizo and the peppers were very complimentary of the cheese. I’m always a little thrown off by these little plates as my instinct is to just sandwich it up, but I also tried each ingredient individually…
Next on the docket was Mahon – Menorca Calvados Poached Apples and Rioja infused Figs.
This was another delicious pairing. I love figs and these wine infused figs were delicious, as were the sweet, poached apples. These textures combined with this softer cheese well, and the richness of the fruits were great with the flavor of the cheese. If I wasn’t really interested in the rest of the cheese plates, I could easily be happy with these two next time!
What’s a bar without tales and cocktails
We had a fantastic bartender while we were at dinner. She made expert recommendations, mixed great cocktails, provided some excellent stories, and was overall a great addition to our time at Erling Jensen. I think a good bartender can make a huge difference, as bar eating/drinking is a totally different experience from that at the table. It is a great opportunity for interaction with both the restaurant and the other patrons, and a good bartender proves to be a facilitator for some exciting times. We had an awesome bartender in Maggy (hopefully spelled correctly), who made the night even better.
Well, between the scotches, the old-fashioneds, the champagne cocktails, and NA beers, we were served with a variety of excellent beverages. We also had some good education (tasting) about the bottles that we were less familiar with…
Not my best effort in focusing, but, I think we can all agree that the flower looks excellent in focus!
Cake of Crab
One of the recommendations from the Memphis Magazine article were the crab cakes. If this praise doesn’t do it for you “the crab cakes were as perfect as a fresh tangerine in the cold, weary months of winter” then I don’t know what will. It was enough to move the Counselor, so here’s what he was dealing with.
One of my take-aways from the article had been that the buffalo burger would be a good choice. So, I did what had to be done. I ordered what sounded like a well-planned attack on burger supremacy. Erling’s Bar Burger – Blackened Buffalo with Crispy Benton Bacon and Stilton Aioli.
Incredible. Easily one of the best burgers I have ever had. Perfect ingredients prepared perfectly. From the bun to the aioli, it was just a perfect burger. Not much more to say. Ohh yeah, the homemade chips were amazing as well!
Cool It Down
Time to circle back to the point of a good bartender being able to make a night even better. After a friend, we’ll call him the Doctor, had ordered some sort of cocktail with a cucumber, the bartender was kind enough to send us out a sample of their homemade cucumber sorbet, which was just the perfect, refreshing ending to an awesome couple of hours.
Cool and refreshing. Delicious.
Belly Up to the Bar
Small plates and bar menus are perfect for sharing food with company. They are also great ways to introduce yourself to new restaurants without making a full commitment to dinner. Now that I’ve been introduced to Erling Jensen, I am itching to go back, both to the bar and to a dinner table! Next time your out East after work, take that turn of Poplar at Yates and go see for yourself. See you there!
You want to go to there:
1044 South Yates Road
Memphis, TN 38119