Erling Jensen has probably been at the top of your list for several years when special occasions or romantic dinners have hit the calendar, but don’t limit Erling’s to your white-tablecloth evening out. This longstanding, elite Memphis restaurant offers laid-back dining in their bar area and, weather permitting, on their patio too.
Chef Erling was born in Frederikshavn, Denmark, but Memphis embraces this award-winning restaurateur as 100-percent local. He has been in our Southern city since 1989, when he moved from Washington, D.C., to accept the chef position at former Midtown favorite, La Tourelle.
All menus are available in each room, but there is a separate menu to match their more casual setting. Like Chef Erling’s fine dining presentation, the bar/patio menu is French-inspired cuisine and traditional with a twist.
Chef Erling’s presentations do not have to be headed for the dining room to be dressed up and beautiful … our servings had been plated with equal attention. And the flavors we enjoyed were like a reward after a long weekday routine.
There are small plates featuring specialties such as fine cheeses, smoked duck, sausages, rack of lamb or bouillabaisse, and Erling’s dining room menu is available to bar area and patio customers as well. If the big game is on, Erling’s will have the TV going for guests to watch!
You might expect a place as hip as this, brimming with local flavor, to be in either Midtown or downtown, but, East Memphians, this cool restaurant retreat is on Yates, easy to find and tucked away just far enough off of Poplar Avenue to escape the noise of your day.
When you are there, you will probably meet Chef Erling. We watched him welcome all of the guests, many of whom he greeted by name, perhaps weekly regulars, and others who had come after work for a beverage and light dinner. The chef’s personal favorite on the bar/patio menu is Erling’s Bar Burger—Blackened Buffalo with Crispy Benton Bacon and Stilton Aioli. Erling Jensen also has a great list of distinctive, refreshing cocktails.
And if you are staying for dessert, we recommend the Blueberry Marzipan Cobbler and the Chocolate Soufflé. Order them when you are mid-entrée, because these two selections require 15 to 20 minutes for preparation.
We were pleasantly surprised with the total for our dining experience. The bill was just over $100 for three people—We tried items from every menu including the wine list without skipping a single course, so this total could easily be trimmed down. And, while a casual setting might be your routine choice, don’t forget to make reservations for an upscale experience in the main dining room. Inquire about their elegant Friday Wine Dinner menu and enjoy a wonderful price point on Sundays when 3 courses are only $38.
They do not take reservations for the bar or patio—simply first-come-first-serve unwinding dining. Enjoy a springtime evening out with Erling Jensen … all of the flavor you expect from a fine restaurant combined with the comfort of a casual bar or patio setting.
Erling Jensen hours: nightly, 5:00 to 10:00 p.m.