Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tupelo--A little taste of the south

One of the Palateers visited Tupelo this past summer, and raved about the Southern hospitality. So they dragged the other one over for a taste of some Southern flavors.

First thing we realized about Tupelo is it is a popping place – as in 40 minutes to an hour wait on a Saturday night. And no reservations. Forewarning for any late evening diner. This speaks volumes about the quality of the cuisine, and how fast word spreads, as it opened this past summer.

Inside had a cozy decor, with murals of hot New Orleans nights, multitudes of Elvis drawings, and water served in jars. The back room is perfect for waiting, as we initially did, until we fortunately caught two seats at the bar. People were everywhere: servers, customers waiting for tables glass of wine in hand, and the cooks in plain view at the back. We have a theory that if you order a bottle of wine, they seat you in 5 minutes. We saw it happen.

Going early is important as we found out the hard way. 6pm on a Tuesday would probably have been a little better than 8pm on a Saturday. We were sad to learn that they ran out of the complimentary corn bread and two of the entrees – including one we wanted, the catfish. These facts dampened our spirits until the food arrived.

Tupelo only serves wine and beer, but has a good variety of different beers, including Duvel and some type of chocolate stout. And, as any good Southern restaurant should have, root beer in a bottle. We were sitting at the bar, so we didn't get the full waitstaff experience. The bartender seemed nice but extremely busy.

The food was mighty scrumptious, and came with three types of hot sauce. Our first entree was the BBQ'd half chicken ($16). This slow roasted, extremely filling chicken fell right off the bone and was finger-lickin' good. The shredded maple autumn squash complimented the chicken well and was sweet and chewy. Served with a load of dressing and a few greens. The advertised sweet onion pickle was unnoticeable.

Finger lickin good
Our second dish was a Cajun gumbo ($12). This big mixing bowl was filled with pulled chicken, rice, green peppers, onions, and our personal favorites, Andouille sausage and okra. The first bite helped clean out the sinuses, and we didn't look back after that until we saw bottom.

If we ever find ourselves stranded in Mississippi or Louisiana, our expectations our high after Tupelo.

1193 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 868-0004
Cambridge Restaurant Review

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