Tag Archives: ACRE

ACRE – A Celebrated Restaurant Experience

What is a good gift for a couple that loves to eat, works a fair amount, and either writes about food or prepares a ton of it? You guessed it, a Snuggie. No, just kidding! If you’ve been reading along at home, by now you know that I love to go out to eat with people. Food and drinks make the perfect companion to good conversation and good times. So, a safe bet when gift shopping for people like me and K is that a gift certificate to go eat is a good idea.

We take these gift certificates and put them in our not-so-secret stash, and every now and then we go out and treat ourselves to a fun night out with “house” money. Our biggest hiccup is that we always try to save them for a “special” occasion, then we delay and delay. The reality is that a night out as a gift from someone else is special in its own right, so no need to wait. Special thanks to the two lovely ladies that made this amazing dinner at ACRE possible in the form of a golden ticket gift certificate!

Opening Statement

What’s more important, food or service? It is hard for me to answer that, but I do know that if either isn’t good, it can be a deal breaker. ACRE steps up from the get go with great service. It is hard to argue with valet parking when it is raining, a nice hostess that gives you the scoop on what she heard the waitstaff saying was the best, or a server that works with you to find something off the drink menu.

Our server got K started with one of their signature cocktails and helped me put together a nice non-alcoholic beverage, see the nice ginger beer + lime + soda water mixture above. I liked that they helped me come up with a good drink, and I would love to see more places be proactive in the non-booze beverage area. There are plenty of people that don’t drink or are DDing that would pay a little extra for something more interesting than an iced tea or a Diet Coke. So, thanks to the folks at ACRE for that good start to the meal.

Evidence

Since we were rolling with the golden ticket and an early dinner time, we decided we would really try a bunch of stuff and see what happened. After getting the word on the specials from our server, we picked out a couple of starters.

First up was the special Blue Fin Tuna sashimi-style.

This fish just melted when eaten. It was seriously awesome. It came with a nice ginger sauce and some greens. One of the things that stood out about ACRE was a small touch. All of the greens that they served really looked real, if that makes sense. These looked like they could have been literally taken out of the ground right before they went on the plate. That extended to the taste, which was fresh.

Since one of the big topics in the family lately has been charcuterie, I was very interested in the Rabitt “coppa” starter.

There is the cured rabbit in the middle along with a rabbit sausage right behind it and the rest of the Castleventrano olives, Marcona almonds, prunes & bacon-fennel jam that came with it. The olives and the almonds were great together with the prune. The rabbit sausage has to be tasted to be believed and the cured rabbit was just great!

We were out on a serious date, so we ordered up a couple of entrees as well. Like I wrote earlier, the service at ACRE was great from the get go. Part of that was a conversation with the hostess, the younger sibling of a friend of ours, who after inquiring about our general well-being gave us a tip on the monkfish. It was like a classic bit of culinary insider-trading as she told us the staff had been raving about it. Well…

Pistachio encrusted monkfish, aka “poor man’s lobster” meaning that it is a delicious meaty fish, was served on a bed of ???. K and I were both big fans of this. The fish was super tasty.

Just like in our choices for the starters we mixed a land and a sea with our entrees. It was a very difficult choice, but we went with this Ribeye cooked rare-plus, which I’ve come to realize is about the only suitable my preferred temperature for a great cut of meat.

As you can see this fella is just seared on the outside and a wonderful red all through the middle. Here’s the official description – roasted carrots, parsnip puree, parmesan-prosciutto gnudi & black truffle syrup. You could shorten that to “steak with mad delicious extras.” I’ve noticed lately that parsnips are all the rage, and I am happy to say that I agree with that rage, as these were superb. Not a lot to say about this set-up other than it was really, really awesome.

So, you might know that my lady friend is a pretty good dessert maker (best in the city is what they (and I) say) (how about that double parenthesis move???), so we went rogue and ordered up an awesome cheese plate and another round of drinks for dessert.

We got the three cheese plate with a mixture of textures and flavors, and it will be hard to convince me to stay away from the five cheese plate next time. ACRE sends out the awesome little bites with the cheese that were just fantastic. Basically, the finally of cheese and beverages was the perfect ending to an amazing meal.

Closing Arguments

So, at the beginning of this post, I asked what was more important, the food or the service. Well ACRE gets it right by aiming (and achieving) excellence on both. Great food with a great human touch. From the valets to the hostess to our helpful server to the chef coming out and chatting everyone up, the service forms a great connection with the food. When you put them together, you have a place that has diners like me itching to go back. See you there!

-Thomas

You want to go to there:

ACRE
690 S Perkins Rd
Memphis, TN 38117
(901) 818-2273
Acre on Urbanspoon

10 Meals I’m Thankful For!

I’m sitting at home with my tie loosened and my sport coat thrown over a chair as I attempt a rapid recovery from round 1 of the K&T Thanksgiving Double. Round one saw a grand buffet at the club, and I’m prepping myself for round two over at K’s dad’s house. I always joke with people about how many places K and I will go on holidays, since we are both Memphians with big families. But really, no joke, it is awesome. We have awesome people to spend quality time with, and with the cooking skills in both families, we have awesome meals to do it over.

On that note, while I am thankful for the blessings of good friends and family to spend my time with, I’ll wax nostalgic a little about the blog. It has been awesome writing this thing. I’ve gotten to meet new people, try new food, and in my own way, support a lot of cool people and my city at the same time. With that, I’ll look back on 10 meals that I was especially thankful for in the last year in no particular order.

1. The Clan Gordon English Dinner

You know the times that you do something, and it is so awesome that it has to become a tradition. This was one of those dinners. We’ll look back on the 2010 Clan Gordon English Dinner with fondness for years, because it was the one that made it a tradition. I’m already looking forward to mid December, when the 2nd annual dinner rolls around.

Read more about it the first one.

2. A Steak Sandwich and a Steak Sandwich

I’m obsessed with the movie Fletch. This means that when I find a steak sandwich that takes it to the next level, I am obligated to spend the next few weeks saying Fletch lines like, “I’ll have a bloody mary, a steak sandwich, and, uh, a steak sandwich.” Local has that steak sandwich.

Read more about it.

3. Reindeer Cake

Another family tradition is the Reindeer Cake that K developed a few years ago for Christmas. This gingerbread cake covered with caramel icing is pretty much my favorite dessert of the year. Pair it with a cup of coffee, and you’ve got the best post meal action (or next morning breakfast action) that I can think of.

Read more about it.

4. Roll Up

When a new place opens up, and I go to check it out, then I end up going quite often, that is a sign that a place has really hit me. Slider Inn has that going on and more with their Lobster Roll, excellent patio, and sweet (close) location. I keep planning on getting the burgers, but I always call out for the lobster roll. So good that it was my grandmother’s choice for her birthday lunch the other day!

Read more about it.

5. Will It with Willett

The first time I ever interviewed someone in person was when I had lunch with Felicia Willett at her awesome restaurant Felicia Suzanne. I was pretty nervous, but I found out pretty quickly that interviewing a super-nice person that tells a lot of fun stories is a lot easier than I expected. Throw in the amazing lunch, and I count this as one of the top meals of the last year for sure.

Read about the lunch and about Felicia.

6. Brunching on Birthdays

I mentioned above that we went to Slider Inn for my grandmother’s birthday a week or so ago. Well, her birthday last year also makes the list. Iris is consistently getting awards and recognition as one of the top restaurants around. This was my first time there, and they backed up everything that I have heard about them. Soooooo goooood!

Read more about it.

7. Dirty Thirty

There is an interesting trend developing as I put this lil ol list together. The meals that I shared with my family and friends over special occasions are the ones that stick out in my mind the most. Maybe it just makes the food taste that much better, or maybe the reason that we really eat is because it is a perfect opportunity to further the relationships that we have. My thirtieth birthday was an awesome time spent at my mom’s house with her and K putting the legit touches on some awesome food. Just love spending a little extra time with the peeps.

cake from my early birthday dinner

Read more about it.

8. A Cure at ACRE

Got the “I want to try something new” blues? Get on over to ACRE. Everyone waited for this place to open, and when it did, somehow it lived up to the expectations. The places is beautiful and so is the food. Totally excellent! I’ll be hitting it up during the holidays. Love getting out of the house and chilling when there is so much that keeps us busy.

Read more about it.

9. Trolley (just can’t) Stop

I love Trolley Stop. No doubt. I go there all the time because it is A. excellent and B. close to work. That is a lethal combination. But my favorite Trolley Stop meal was definitely the pizza that K and I ordered in the first night in our new, awesome home (there could be a wholenother Thanksgiving post on the house). Since then we have ordered quite a few Reuben pizzas to our humble abode. I’m not sure I have ever been able to wait long enough to take a picture of it, so here’s a different slice!

Margherita Pizza

Read about my first trip to Trolley Stop.

10. House of Beef, Corned Beef

I loved eating over here recently with some of my friends. It was a reminder that Memphis has a lot to offer, even when it doesn’t always look like that to everyone else. I love this city, and I loved this lunch.

Read about it.

11. And one to grow on!

I’m pre-thankful for my dinner plans on Monday night. I’m booked with K and some prime-time friends for a night at Andrew Michael for their No-Menu Monday. I have no idea what they’ll serve, and that’s the way I like it. I love eating at people’s houses, because they usually cook what they like to eat. I’m just taking that process to a restaurant with two of Memphis’ best chefs calling the shots. Their spot is so good!

Read about my only other trip there!

Thanks Again

I hope you all have great things and people to be thankful for. I’ll say it again though, that I am thankful for the opportunity to write this little ole blog. I have a great time doing it, I love talking to people about it, and I’m still pleasantly surprised whenever I find out that anyone reads it. More than anything, I’m excited that I keep having new posts to write and new places to go and new people to see. That means that we are growing as a local food community, and we all benefit from that. Keep eating local, and I’ll see you out there!

-Thomas

 

ACRE is the Place to Be

At long last, Wally Joe’s latest restaurant has landed in an inviting space in East Memphis near Theatre Memphis and Audubon Park. To say that ACRE has been long-awaited would be a mild understatement. People that I know have been talking about it for a long time, wondering, speculating, and anticipating. It was beginning to take on a mythological quality in my mind (ok, maybe that is a tiny bit of hyberbole)! But either way, people have been excited to both see the space that holds the restaurant and to taste the fruits of all of this labor.

A Note on the Space, Man

The interior space of ACRE is really stunning. The colors, materials, and the furniture give ACRE an incredibly homey, comfortable vibe, while  the contrasting room designs (I sat in the the brown room in the front, and I went to visit some people seated in the light “sun room” on the side), really adds to that feel. It was put together in a purposeful way with a lot of thought to detail. The space definitely adds to the experience. I’m going to snag a couple of photos from a recent Daily News article (read full article here) to illustrate what I’m having a difficult time articulating (imagine that!).

photo from the Daily News

Here’s the room that I ate dinner in. Notice the lush cigar leather banquets and how they mix with the white walls. Very inviting. Next door was the “sun room.”

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