Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tupelo: New Sunday Brunch

I love chicken & waffles! Such a delicious comfort food, a perfect melding of breakfast and dinner. Thus, when I learned that Tupelo had a new brunch, and served chicken & waffles, I just had to check it out.

Tupelo, located in Cambridge near Inman Square, was my Favorite Southern Restaurant of 2009. They serve inexpensive and delicious fare including their exceptional fried grits! Plus, they have excellent desserts, many coming from Petsi Pies. Previously, they only served dinner but have recently added Sunday brunch.

After a little difficulty finding an available parking spot nearby, a usual problem on Cambridge Street, we arrived at the restaurant just as it opened. We were seated immediately, and quickly received coffee and unsweetened iced tea while we perused the menu. The brunch menu includes Starters ($7-$9), Sandwiches ($10-$12), Main Courses ($9-$16) and Sides ($3-$4). Start with Southern Spiced Turkey Meatballs or try a Catfish po’boy. Maybe you would rather some Smoked sausage and roasted veggie hash plus a side order of Cheddar grits. Some of these items are also on their dinner menu while others are unique to the brunch menu.

The only special, not listed on the brunch menu, was the Fried Grits. As usual, these were superb, with a nice crunchy exterior and the creamy, corn-flavored interior. Dash some of Frank's Hot Sauce on these and enjoy! Even if you think you dislike grits, I strongly recommend you check these out and I bet you find you love them. If not, send them my way.

Ah, Fried Chicken and Waffles! They came with some bourbon maple syrup and spiced cream, the butter-like scoop on the right side of the waffle. Plus the dreaded powdered sugar! I have previously ranted about my dislike of powdered sugar on waffles, and other breakfast dishes. I don't think this dish needed it, especially because of the spiced cream and syrup.

The waffle was very good, crisp outside and soft inside. The spiced cream was intriguing, a blend of cinnamon and other Xmas spices, which added some sweetness to the waffle, though not overboard. The fried chicken was absolutely delicious, nice crunchy skin with plenty of juicy meat. I could have easily eaten a bucket of that chicken. I would certainly order this dish again, and just ask for them to hold the powdered sugar. Does anyone really want powdered sugar on their chicken either?

The side of Bacon had five strips, which were cooked perfectly for me, just the right amount of crispness without being over-cooked.

The Fritata of the Day, with Mixed Greens, was filled with peppers, tomatoes, goat cheese and cheddar. It was thick, moist and tasty, with plenty of creamy goat cheese. A lighter choice which is sure to please. Plus, you have some salad.

The usual dessert list was available after brunch, including their delicious pecan pie. But I wanted to try their Banana Pudding Pie. In its own pastry shell, there is a layer of banana slices topped by the pudding, and then capped with a light meringue and drizzles of caramel sauce. A decadent treat, the pudding had a rich banana taste, without any artificial flavor, and supplemented by the thin banana slices. The pastry shell was flaky and fresh, and the meringue offered a light and fluffy topping. All in all, a fine ending to any meal, though note it is large enough to feed two people.

Service was excellent, our server being attentive and efficient. The restaurant was about 90% full within 30 minutes of the opening, but the service never faltered. I checked out some of the dishes that went to the other tables and the po'boys really looked good, and big! Brunch was equally as good as Tupelo's dinners, and well worth checking out. I will certainly return here again and hope to see some of my readers there as well.