Why did I drink 3 glasses of sweet tea? I'm notoriously sensitive to caffeine and although it's 1am, I doubt I'll be going to bed again time soon. I might as well write about our dinner with R's parents at Tupelo tonight. Tupelo opened just 2 weeks ago in the space that used to house Magnolia's in Inman square (I love that they kept the beautiful copper-topped tables). It is co-owned by Renee Mcleod of Petsi's Pies in Somerville. It's tag line is “Comfort food with a southern drawl.” There's nothing this Chinese girl loves as much as southern comfort food, so I decided that it would be perfect for an early Mother's day meal.
We started with fried oysters, spiced turkey meatballs and deviled crab salad. The kitchen also sent out some crackers with pimento cheese. The oysters were plump, briny and well-fried, reminiscent of the fried oysters I had at Jacques-Imo's in New Orleans, almost ten years ago. The meatballs were moist and had a nice kick to them; if I didn't know already that it was turkey, I wouldn't have guessed and that's a really good compliment. The deviled crab was okay, but nothing I couldn't have whipped up in my own kitchen in 25 seconds (add mayo to crab, mix, and sprinkle paprika on).
For entrees, I had the fried catfish. It was served atop mashed potatoes and green tomatoes. I thought that the green tomatoes would be fried, but they were pickled, I think. It give them a tart and tangy flavor, not bad, but not what I expected. My catfish was beautifully fried, but massively salty. R had the dinner special: crab stuffed trout with mussels and crispy grits. His grits came in small square bites with a crispy breaded exterior and a soft creamy inside, very tasty. The fish was also good, but not terribly exciting. Lenore had the beer battered crepes stuffed with spinach and smoked mozzarella. It was good, but crepes don't strike me as very Southern. Lastly, Skip had the standout of the night: half of a roasted chicken with maple-bourbon BBQ sauce. Now, initially, I was disappointed with the lack of fried chicken on the menu. In fact, I don't really think you should be allowed to bill yourself as a southern comfort food joint without serving fried chicken. That said, the roast chicken was good, really good (although not quite Damn Good).
The dessert menu had five items on it: Coconut Cream Pie, Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler, Chocolate Bread Pudding, Brown Butter Pecan Pie and Banana Pudding. We voted Survivor-style and the cobbler was booted off the island. Not surprisingly, the pies were both excellent with great crusts and good flavors; the pecan had a slight edge over the coconut. The banana pudding was also well liked, as it was R's favorite. The bread pudding was unanimously picked as the worse dessert; dry and not much chocolate flavor. The whipped cram on top did nothing to help it.
Our waitress was clearly new and inexperienced, but friendly and attentive. The prices are amazingly low, with entrees topping off at $15. All desserts are $7. I think Tupelo has a bright future; with the state of the world today and the economy, who can't use some affordable comfort?
How much longer till the sweet tea wears off?