431 S Highland Street,Suite 120
I got invited to come to Char for brunch during their training last weekend. (They officially opened on Monday.) I planned to take both monkeys (Satchel, 14 and Jiro, 12), but Jiro skipped town on me. So, Satchel and I went with my friend, Joanna, who just happens to be BFF with one of the executive chefs.
When I picked Satchel up, he was semi-excited.
"Where is it?" he asked.
"Somewhere over by the University," I said.
"What kind of food do they have?" he asked.
"Uh, I don't know," I replied.
"What do you mean you don't know?"
"Uh, I don't think the menu is online, yet," I half lied. The truth was, they emailed me and invited me to come try it out in advance and free of charge so it didn't really matter!
"Oh, is this one of those come early and eat free things?" Satchel asked, now familiar with the drill after our visit to The Kitchen at Shelby Farms.
That seemed to satisfy him. I do know that there's one in Jackson and one in Nashville and that the owners are the same as Amerigo. I also saw that my beloved Jeff Frisby of Restaurant Iris fame is the manager.
I only drove past it once before locating it. Satchel is actually the one who figured out that it was probably attached to the new apartment building. We got there at 11:30am, a few minutes ahead of Joanna. We went ahead and got seated. Once inside, we were both like, "Holy shit, this place is fancy." It's gorgeous. Lots of dark wood and natural light.
Suddenly we both felt super underdressed. But, thankfully, they weren't officially open, and this is Memphis after all. Speaking of, this old map was bringing people in from all over the restaurant.
Our waiter, Josh, gave us menus, brought us drinks, and steered us to the crab claw appetizer all before Joanna arrived. Satchel and I were still trying to decide what to eat when she joined us. We had the very good problem of everything sounding super yummy. Joanna quickly went about asking questions about just about everything on the menu.
Then she asked if her friend was in the kitchen. Meanwhile we added some fried green tomatoes to our appetizer order, and soon we were in business.
Let me tell you something. Those crab claws were like crack. Holy moly. SOOOOOOOO good. Like dangerously good. Like eat them and you will be hooked forever good. Oh my!
In comparison, the fried green tomatoes were just ok. (One got eaten before I snapped the picture.)
The chef came out, Joanna finished up with her questions, and we put in our final order. Then we went about entertaining Satchel.
Entertaining might not be the right word. He'd probably say that "interrogation" was more fitting. I gotta say, I might need to bring Joanna along once a week or so because she found out all sorts of stuff that I didn't know!
Satchel was a good sport and answered her questions and even seemed to be enjoying himself. (Joanna is super fun, so it's pretty hard not to have a good time when she's around.)
We took a break from quizzing him to eat some more.
Satchel and I both had the gumbo.
I am super picky about gumbo because my sister truly makes the best gumbo ever, but this was really good.
Joanna had the wedge salad, which is what I had as my main course. We both agreed it was too big. A quarter cut would be just right.
Satchel got the mahi mahi for his main course. He rejected the (delicious) melon salsa, but happily and quickly ate everything else.
Joanna had the red fish which was the chef's suggestion. It was a hit.
Even though we were massively full, we couldn't resist free dessert. While we waited, I checked out the ladies room. It's awesome, and not just because of this sign.
(I didn't actually take my phone to the bathroom...until I saw that Joanna needed some more time debriefing Satchel in the absence of his mother.)
Not surprisingly, Satchel was relieved when dessert arrived and Joanna and I went back to stuffing our faces. We had a pecan crumble (?) and the brownie. We had a big fight about which was the best. (I say brownie.)
Now, I have no idea how much any of this cost. I'm guessing it's a little pricey just based on the food and the atmosphere. The menu isn't online yet, so someone who's been since they opened will have to let us know. I will say that the place is top notch and totally worth a visit, even if you gotta fork over a little more cash than usual.
GET THE CRAB CLAWS!