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!
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.
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.
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!
You want to go to there:
690 S Perkins Rd
Memphis, TN 38117