Thursday, April 16, 2009

Interim Restaurant & Bar

5040 Sanderlin Avenue, Memphis

My trip last week to Memphis will probably be one of my last. The work I was doing there is, for the most part, finished and as much as I've learned to enjoy Memphis, its not a destination I plan on seeking out.

Since I was only spending one night, I decided to forgo my usual trip to Gus's and instead head to Interim Restaurant & Bar. Chef Jackson Kramer is a 2009 James Beard Foundation semifinalist for Rising Star Chef of the Year. I could not pass up the chance to eat his food, especially since I probably would never have the chance to again.

I sat at the bar and while perusing the menu ordered a sazerac, which was smooth and crisp. A great start to the meal, along with the warm crusty break with freshly whipped butter. I was already starting to like the place.

To start, I had the Macaroni & Cheese Casserole. The herb and parmesan crust blended in great with the macaroni. The entire dish was cheesy,light, and buttery. The Tripp country ham added just the right amount of saltiness. Overall, its probably one of the best Mac & Cheese dishes I've had. The entire composition worked so well.

For the main event, I had the Roasted Colorado Lamb. The lamb was cooked beautifully and; the merguez sausage was a crispy & salty bit of perfection; the grits were nice and creamy but with an odd after taste; the asparagus was salty and a bit overdone. The overall dish didn't gel together well.

My biggest issue was that the flavors of the lamb did not come through in the dish. Quite frankly, you could have substituted it with a filet mignon and I wouldn't have noticed. Come to think of it, the dish would have been better with a NY Strip. At least the cow would have held its own in the dish.

The real star of the dish was the merguez sausage. I could not get enough of it. It worked great with all the components. Too bad it wasn't meant to be the main component.

Would I go back? Yes. Just for the mac and cheese. I'd probably try the burger or the duck breast next time. Too bad they aren't in NYC or Boston so I'd have the opportunity to give them another try. Interim is a nice break from the usual dinner fare I get in Memphis, but at the end of the day I made sure to hit up Interstate BBQ in the airport before I left.

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