Saturday, January 24, 2009

Supper

Jess' Take
Last night we hit Supper, a cozy and welcoming restaurant at 9th and South. The restaurant was actually a last minute decision. We were originally planning to hit Memphis Taproom, but the group decided we just weren’t into greasy bar food and beer so Supper it was. We started the feast with a charcuterie plate, complete with a variety of pates and mousses. It was delicious, especially the duck prosciutto. It was also the first time that I’ve had boudin blanc and I have to say, although a little scary looking – very tasty. Our waiter was not shy with the bread (and as a result I have a special place for him in my heart).



For the appetizer I broke tradition and ordered the same thing as Dave, the smoked butternut squash soup with cinnamon marshmallow and sage. It arrived in an oversized bowl with what looked like a schmear of fluffanutter along the inside that was just browned with a kitchen torch. Although I’m not a big fan of anything too sweat, this was a perfect combination of sweet and smoked spice. There were bits of cooked apples at the bottom of the dish that added just a little tartness. It was delicious.



Unfortunately I cannot say the same about my entrée. I ordered the chili dusted skate with crab, mango, red onion and yellow mole. The presentation was impressive, but the fish was way over spiced and the crab salad atop was very cold and would have been more at home atop a bed of green with a creamy dressing. The mole, which is one of my favorite sauces, was disappointingly flavorless (is that even possible?).



Although I was pretty full at this point, I couldn’t resist ordering a selection of cheese for dessert. I was very glad I did. I can’t recall the exact cheeses, but they definitely included a goat and a guere. They were served with smoke paprika crisps and some local honey that was out of this world.

I really wanted to like this place – and I did, aside from my main entre. It was great when the chef came out to see if we liked everything (luckily I didn’t have to lie at that point) and our server was friendly and not pushy. Would I go back? Probably. The soup was good enough.

I give it 2.5 out of a possible 4 schmears of fluff.

Dave's Take
Jess did a great job of describing the app and the soup so I will just expand on my entree.

I ordered the slow roasted pork belly with spiced yams, greens and pineapple mustard. The pork belly was great. Seasoned just enough to accentuate the flavor, it was rich and tender just like pork belly should be. Fantastic. The pureed spiced yams were good, but really heavy on the cream and butter. This made them too rich for my taste, especially since it is being served with pork belly after all, and masked the great natural flavor of the yams. The greens were crisp and tasty and maybe gave it a little health benefit? (OK, maybe not). Overall though, I was very pleased.



I was a little apprehensive on ordering the dessert. First, I noticed the inconsistency of the previous dishes. Sure, I was lucky but my compadres were slightly disappointed. Next, my cholesterol was already peaking since I just had, charcuterie, a creamy soup and pork belly. But I was outvoted so we ordered the cheese plate (which I mostly avoided) and split a dense chocolate cake (big surprise). It was good enough but this standard dessert was lost in my memory with so many others. Nothing to expand on here.



I loved the feel of Supper- comfortable and just trendy enough. The staff was not pushy, helpful and very nice. The chef made a effort to talk with the guests which was a really nice touch. The prices were reasonable. The entree's were inventive and creative. If they could only consistently execute the taste, this would be one of my favorites. As it stands now, I'll give it a 3 out of 4 tasty piggies. I certainly want to give it another try.


Wade’s Take:

January’s dinner brought a last-minute switcheroo, as we ended up going to Supper instead of Memphis Taproom (I pledge to thee, Memphis Taproom, we will grace and thrive in your beer selection soon). The advantage to this change in plans is that I didn’t have time to read-up on Supper, get online advice for what to order or find out anything about the chef. I was going in blind… no room for potential bias.

The appetizer course involved us ordering Dave and my old pal, the charcuterie plate. This one included a boudin blanc, country pate with pistachios, pickled okra, shoestringed spaghetti squash, duck prosciutto and an odd, somewhat pickled brussel sprout. The pates were right up my alley, and would be worth ordering again.

It was hard for me to focus, though, as I was having a love affair at the table with the complementary breads. I should have been complementing them. Garlic-infused and whole wheat breads, combined with their homemade supple and creamy butter, were tremendous.

I hardly ever order a special. I’m always suspicious. Is it leftovers they are trying to dump on unwitting customers? But I strayed from my norm, and ordered a Tuscan white bean soup with croutons and a whole egg on top. Let’s see… random seemingly leftover ingredients, an abundance of salt, oddly textured… is this Drexel’s cafeteria on a Sunday at lunch? Honestly, the soup was fine. It needed an exotic, tanged twist at the end to finish its straightforward flavor. Plus, during the whole bowl, I was enviously glancing over at my friends’ (much better) soups as they licked the bowls clean.



My small plate was the short rib with pearl onions, cheese polenta and some greens wispily coated in not enough horseradish oil. I agree with Dave, the short rib was surprisingly not as moist as would be expected. The pearl onions were superb, but the polenta was beyond strong. The overdose of salt, creamy buttered richness and intense flavor were too much. I expected Supper’s dishes to be more subtle, but after the soup and then this, my palate was overwhelmed.



Then, a phenomenon happened that I very much equate to a dissatisfying meal. Jess (also disappointed with her meal) and I revisited the bread and butter, left on the table from our first course. My belief is that we sought out the beginning of the meal again, when we had been happier and full of hope. Or perhaps we just wanted to bring balance back to our tastebuds after the mild unpleasantness of our dishes.

The dessert course was superb. I had a dense chocolate cake with dulce de leche on the side that was perfect. The cheese plate was excellent as well. Jess picked a gruyere that I am still thinking about, some 12 hours later.

Dave’s review will be more favorable, and his dishes were good. I think he may have a bit of a prejudice, though, as he ate tiring travel food (at hotels, airports) all week prior to the meal at Supper.

Two out of four butters.

Post script – I did try Memphis Taproom, finally. Not as good as I thought! I really wanted to like it, but ended up with greeeezy food that, although delicious and high-class bar food, wouldn’t lead me to wander back to Fishtown.




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