EP Delta Kitchen — Closed

Professional food writers allow a new restaurant to be open a few months before they review it. That way the restaurant has a fair chance to work out the kinks. I, on the other hand, could think of no better metaphor for sailing into the abyss of my second 39th birthday than celebrating at a restaurant that doesn’t exist yet.

EP Delta Kitchen and Bar is the reincarnation of the failed Elvis Presley Restaurant on Beale Street. Memphis restaurant mogul Jimmy Ishii is opening a new restaurant in the space and has brought chef Michael Patrick onboard as executive chef. Ironically, chef Patrick came to town in 1996 to open Elvis Presley’s. The restaurant officially opens December 5 but is now in the midst of a soft opening to let the entire crew gel.

I never went to Elvis Presley’s, but I always pictured it as a jungle room nightmare of Teddy Bear on infinite repeat and dismal industrial frozen foods deep fried. Since an Elvis-themed restaurant in Memphhis actually managed to go broke, I apparently wasn’t too far wrong. The restaurant is a great space, the former home of the Lansky Brothers store, Elvis’s favorite clothier. The downstairs is smaller and more intimate than it appears from the outside.

Instead of cruelly-treated hearts, the music reflects the new Southern fusion / New Orleans cuisine that the restaurant offers. On the stereo, the Neville Brothers were unobtrusively raising the roof as we chatted. Later in the evening, The Roxanne Lemmon Band enlivened the house without obliterating conversation. With Garry Goin and G3 as the house band, EP Delta Kitchen has great potential to be a fine supper club.


The meal started with a lagniappe, a roll of smoked salmon with whipped cream cheese and diced red onion on a slice of boiled egg surrounded by capers. This was a wonderful start to the meal.

After our treat, we started with three appetizers. Crabmeat stuffed frog legs piquant were nice and tender with a luxurious filling. Our favorite of the three was a stuffed portabella mushroom duxcelle. The meaty mushroom made a nice base for shrimp, creamy spinach, and sweet carmelized onions.

Spinach and andouille souffle
Spinach and andouille souffle

The only appetizer we weren’t sure about is the appetizer we are most likely to order next time we go. The spinach and andouille souffle wasn’t quite clicking yet. The dish was heavy on andouille flavor and spinach mass. Chef Patrick said he is still tweaking the dish. To me, that makes this the most intriguing dish because when we return, we may get to see the evolution of a dish in the hands of an excellent chef.

Alligator scallopini
Alligator scallopini

After our appetizer frenzy, we shared one entree, the alligator scallopini with lemon beurre blanc and cheese grits. This dish went over well. The alligator is in a crisp cornmeal based breading. The tartness of the lemon beurre blanc is matched with a bit of heat from a dash of hot sauce. We all love gator and would love to have this dish again.

The cheese grits were good, but it was another side dish that really won us over, the lobster mashed potatoes. Holy cow. Or maybe holy crustacean. Rich, creamy mashed potatoes are an excuse to deliver lovely huge chunks of lobster. This is the kind of thing that we would eat straight out of the pan for dinner. This is the kind of thing that will keep us coming back.

Cognac crème brûlée
Cognac crème brûlée

A cognac creme brulee was a perfect ending to the meal. Simple, creamy and absolutely scrumptious with a beautiful peanut praline for an added treat.

I can’t wait to get back, maybe for an unofficial visit, definitely after the official opening so we can try that souffle again. There are a tremendous number of dishes we want to try, and there is a great space to try them in.

EP Delta KitchenClosed
126 Beale Street
Memphis, Tennessee 38103
(901) 527-1444

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6 thoughts on “EP Delta Kitchen — Closed

  • December 12, 2006 at 12:38 pm

    You mshould have more respect for Elvis!!!!!!!!!!

  • December 29, 2006 at 4:29 pm

    the alligator scallopini was yummy! i didn’t see your post until now. i definitely would not have left without trying the creme broulee had i seen it earlier.

  • February 4, 2007 at 1:12 am

    Unfortunately this establish was not opened @ the time I visited Graceland & Beele St. However, this is enough respect for Elvis! I sure would like to eat-in on my next visit to Memphis.

  • March 27, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    Was somehow disappointed in the menu choices. I live in Lakeland and dine downtown/midtown frequently but when going to Beale St (and an Elvis themed restaurant) I expected to see a more upscale Southern friendly menu rather than Asian/New Orleans spicy.

    The Bruschetta was good as was the Fried Green Tomatoes but again, they were more Cajun than Southern. The Mardi Gras salad was fresh and crisp.

    We ordered the steak and pork and shared. Both were good and cooked as ordered – medium well. We had this with the salad and green beans. Neither one of us cared for the bread pudding or lobster mashed potatoes. My friend is allergic to seafood and will not be returning due to the few choices available without fish.

    We ordered the Creme Brulee, Banana Bread Pudding and the Fried Peanut Butter Cheesecake and shared – all were delicious.

    Or server, Tom, was courteous, friendly and was familiar with the menu. We enjoyed him more than the entertainment provided on stage. 🙂

    Did not enjoy the entertainment (Jazz) and the music was way too loud for conversation.

    I visited the previous restaurant at this location (Elvis Presley’s Memphis) and always enjoyed the wine choices, the food and the excellent service. I also preferred their entertainment over EP Delta. Jazz – not my favorite music.

    A comment on the review – I consider myself a Memphian (raised in Midtown) and it always irritates me as to how Memphians never pass up an opportunity to show a lack of respect for Elvis Presley, his talent and his contribution to Memphis music while praising the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis, Isaac Hayes and BB King that do little to bring tourism to Memphis from every corner of this earth as Elvis Presley has done for 50 years.

  • July 7, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    I came out thoroughly disappointed. None of the interesting dishes in this or other reviews (frogs legs, alligator, lobster mashed potatoes, etc.) were on the menu any longer. The remaining menu items were blah and of the TGI Friday’s ilk. None of the main courses — misspelled “entree’s” (sic) — were appealing, so I created a 6-course tasting menu of the more interesting appetizers.

    Alas, they were out of crawfish boil. The trio of gumbos was good but would be blown away by any shack in the Big Easy.

    The “lobster pups” were like corn dogs with lobster instead of franks; good lobster taste but not well-matched. And oversoaked with Russian dressing. The crawfish ‘yos, basically crawfish nachos, were the highlight of the day. The duck quesadilla was good, but something you would find in any Bennigan’s. The crab canneloni had good crabmeat but overmatched by the pasta and a half gallon of tomato sauce. The crawfish beignets were burned and inedible. I sent them back, but they still showed up on my bill. I didn’t ask for them to be comped, but I would expect this to be the case in any half-working restaurant.

    Despite an extensive menu, despite the “lagniappe” being on the meni, no “lagniappe” was proffered.

    If this is the best that Memphis has to offer on the high end, truly a disappointing state of affairs.

    The predecessor restaurant went bankrupt — almost impossible to do in Memphis for anything with the King. This restaurant, sparsely attended, seems to be on the same descent into the maelstorm. Which is a shame. The millions of Elvis pilgrims have among them a fair number of upscale foodies who should have a place to dine.

    But maybe the big mistake was thinking that this restaurant would be at least palatable. Stick with what Memphis does outstandingly well … barbeque.

  • September 4, 2007 at 4:16 am

    Hello there! I live in California, but I was recently vacationing in Memphis. Since it was the “Elvis 30th” week of celebrations, Beale Street had so much to offer! After cruising through to check out all our options, we decided to have a bite to eat at EP’s. The food was delicious, and the Chef came out to personally meet us. He even offered us a sample of the lobster pup, which the waiter had weakly described to me as a “corn dog”. It’s not a corn dog…actually, it was much better than that. We also had a delicious salad and a scallop dish which was incredible! However, the best part of our experience at EP’s turned out to be Garry Goin & G3. Not only did we enjoy their obvious talent and ability to crossover in musical variety, we were also fortunate enough to meet Garry and the lead singers who are just really wonderful people! The following night when we decided to return to EP’s after a late riverboat cruise, we were stuck outside the club due to the long lines of people waiting to get in. The band ended up getting us inside to make sure we could enjoy the music on our last night in Memphis! A big “thank you” to everyone at EP’s for such a memorable experience, especially Garry! Honestly, I’ve been to some of the most exclusive restaurants and hottest clubs in the world, and still, I’d have to say that EP’s has become one of my favorite places! To all of you headed out on Beale Street, do yourself a favor and don’t miss this place!

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