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Grandaddy Squirrel takes incredible care of us. Not only is he a great dad all around, but our kitchen remodel is possible thanks to him and his construction company. More importantly, for Angela’s birthday (and my birthday and our anniversary and Arbor Day and pretty much every holiday between now and Christmas) he is building a coop for our new babies. We’ll post more on that soon.
Since GS has been so great to us, we wanted him to have a great Father’s day. (I just got eight new babies, I probably deserve a good day too.) We wanted something he would like and something that Nana Squirrel would like and something that we hadn’t tried before. We decided to go all out and go downtown to the Inn at Hunt Phelan.
The day didn’t start out as great as we had hoped though. On the way here, their car broke down on the interstate. While I rushed out to pick them up, Mama Squirrel called the restaurant to try to push back our reservations a bit. Our reservations were already late in the day because they were coming in from out of town, but the folks at the restaurant were able to help us out.
The Inn at Hunt Phelan is gorgeous with soaring ceilings and murals inside, massive columns and sweeping grounds outside. The entirity of downtown Memphis ceases to exist once you are inside the mansion. The ambience is a good indicator of the sublime meal that is to come.
NS and GS both started with the red and golden beet salad with ginger vinaigrette. My mom, J Squirrel, and I had the crab Justine with creme fraiche and Bearnaise. Squirrelly, Jr., had the shrimp and grits. Mama had the citrus-cured salmon with whitefish salad and toast points. Every single item was exceptional.
For entrees, NS and GS had the halibut with sweet corn and baby green beans. J Squirrel had roasted red pepper quiche with brie and a spinach salad. I had grits and veal grillades. Teh boy went for almond-filled French toast with strawberry sauce. Mama went for the chanterelle omelet with mushroom Bordelaise. Again,every item was superb.
As we were finishing up our entrees, our server asked if we wanted dessert (silly question). He wanted to give the kitchen a bit of notice since they were wrapping things up. We were definitely keeping them there late.
We tried the Grand Marinier creme brulee, the chocolate cake with Makers Mark ice cream, and the sorbets, passionfruit and coconut. The desserts were the only part of the meal that indicated kitchen fatigue. The chocolate cake was nearly as good at the hot fudge pie at Westy’s. Normally, that would be high praise indeed, but given the remarkable quality of the meal we had just finished, we were let down.
The creme brulee was also disappointing. The texture was grainy, and the flavor just didn’t stand out. The sorbets were fine, but we would have expected just as much from a tub of Ciao Bella.
Our server was also tired after a long busy day, but he was excellent. Like other delightful servers we have had lately, he is a Katrina refugee. Unfortunately like most, he plans to return home. Hopefully a touch of his grace and charm will rub off on Memphis servers.
We loved Hunt Phelan. We hope to return soon. We’ll try to get there earlier in the day and see what a difference that makes. And of course there is a scrumptious-looking dinner menu to check out. Unfortunately in the scramble to make our reservation on time we forgot the camera, so we had to resort to my camera phone. We’ll rectify that on our next trip.
The Inn at Hunt Phelan
533 Beale Street
Memphis, TN 38103