Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Opening: Tupelo Honey Café

By: Laurie Wallin
Capital Cooking Contributor

Tupelo Honey Café, originally based in Asheville, NC, just opened in Arlington’s Court House neighborhood. With its fresh, made-from-scratch southern comfort food, all-American décor, and a “Moonrise” (late-night!) small plates brunch, this place is sure to be a hit. The restaurant’s wood tones and “windows” produce a comforting, homey feeling. The bar area has a mix of booths and tables, and with 24 craft beers on tap, many of them local, I suspect it will be hard to find a seat. 

Tupelo Honey Café’s drink list looked amazing with its mix of cocktails, beer, wine, house-made sodas and even includes an “Arlington Signature Cocktail,” but to start, I chose the Spring Seasonal drink, a Honeysuckle & Lavender Flip which was made with Cathead Honeysuckle vodka, housemade lavender sweet & sour, soda water and fresh lemon. This drink was light and refreshing with just a hint of tart and I loved the lavender seeds sprinkled on top.

I began my meal with a classic – fried green tomatoes. Tupelo Honey Café’s version includes goat cheese grits and red pepper coulis, which elevates the dish. The goat cheese grits were light, creamy and mild and the tomatoes were crisp and not greasy.

After polishing off the fried green tomatoes, two house-baked buttermilk biscuits appeared alongside a dish of blueberry jam. Made from fresh blueberries, these biscuits were buttery, creamy, and soft and I could have made a meal out of those alone.

I couldn’t not order the fried chicken (buttermilk fried chicken breast), so that was my dinner pick alongside a side dish of macaroni and cheese and a small side salad with pickled onions. Similar to the fried green tomatoes, the chicken was juicy, crunchy, not greasy, once again, the breading stayed intact. The macaroni and cheese had a nice crust, and the sweet honey dressing went well with the pickled onions.

I also had the opportunity to sample the Atlantic salmon made with a maple butter glaze served with sweet potato fries and quinoa with blueberries, lemon, arugula, & feta. The quinoa was really elevated with the addition of the blueberries and feta, and the salmon was nicely seasoned.

For dessert, I tried the Heavenly banana pudding. With vanilla wafers, this pudding was light, had a nice creamy texture and wasn’t watery at all.

Tupelo Honey Café also features patio seating. I look forward to visiting again!

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