Erling Jensen was one of Memphis' first fine-dining establishments. Tucked out of sight down a small road in East Memphis, this cozy restaurant offers a unique twist on classic French cuisine. Even though Erling Jensen's has been a Memphis staple for almost twenty years, it is still at the top of the list for many residents when they want a nice night out.
The restaurant really excels with creative salads. Standouts include the bibb lettuce salad with endive, goat cheese, local honey, black cherries and a pine nut vinaigrette. It may seem outrageous to spend $18 on a salad that doesn't contain any protein, but the combination of flavors is so unique, and the quality of the ingredients make this particular salad well worth the investment. Another good choice is the arugula salad with pork belly confit, apples and a soy gastrique. Making a good salad is one of the most difficult things to execute properly. It seems simple, but it's hard to take something simple and make it memorable.
For an appetizer that's hearty enough to be an entree, go for the quail stuffed with cornbread and truffle. It's served with an earthy ratatouille. The quail is juicy, and the truffle brings out the savoriness of the meat without overpowering it.
For entrees, diners can't go wrong with roasted salmon with parsnip puree or the mountain elk chop with apple braised cabbage. Both of these dishes are expertly prepared and the accompaniments really make the proteins sing.
A good souffle is extraordinarily difficult to master, but Erling Jensen's version is textbook. They serve it with a bourbon hot chocolate sauce and house made vanilla ice cream. It's a perfect ending to any meal.
This oldie but goodie still stands out a as a great option for a special occasion. To keep the cost in check, diners can go on a Sunday night to enjoy the $38 three-course prix fixe. The menu for this special offering changes weekly.