I’ve been making the restaurant rounds in my new neighborhood, which isn’t really “new” anymore (since I’ve been living there since September) and just happens to encompass two neighborhoods (since I live smack-dab in the middle of Kendall Square and East Cambridge), but every time I think I’ve eaten at them all there’s another 4 I have to add to my list. This week I’ll be crossing two off, with this post on Tupelo and an upcoming one you’ll see on Amelia’s soon. Both are totally different, totally adorbs, and totally worth checking out.
Tupelo, located on Cambridge Street, categorizes their cuisine as being comfort food with a Southern drawl, which is exactly what it is. On the menu you’ll find fun stuff like Cajun Gumbo, New Orleans Jambalaya, Blackened Catfish and Crispy Confit Duck Legs. I was in the mood to try a handful of small plates, so most of what I ordered came from the Starters and Sides sections of the menu — needless to say, I’m already plotting to return with a bigger group to share some of the aforementioned options. But if the dishes I had are any indication of the menu as a whole, this place is undeniably delicious and a great place to grab dinner (or brunch, from what I’m told).
As soon as our quirky and wildly informative server arrived at our table he started rattling off specials and personal favorites, I immediately fell in love. Servers who care make all the difference, and for those servers out there who don’t care, pretend you do, it matters. Trust me. Our orders were in within minutes as on this particular night I was starving and our server did a great job at getting me hooked on a few standout options he described. Then arrived some bread for noshing.
I love corn bread AND copper table tops, so that puts us at 2 for 2 so far.
We decided to try one of the specials that evening – the grit fritters. Or at least that’s what I’m calling them since I can’t actually remember their name. They’re like tater tots with creamy cheddar grits inside. We decided to go ahead and dip them in a garlic aioli. I don’t even like grits, but these were crazy-good and perfect for munching on before the other dishes started to arrive.
The Jalapeno Mac and Cheese was unreal, and for a side the portion was HUGE. I honestly think I’m starting to harbor an obsession with jalapenos because I want them in and on everything! Elbow macaroni drowning in liquid hot lava-like cheese, mixed with minced jalapenos, topped with buttered bread crumbs and fresh parsley — my heart melts just reminiscing about it.
I LOVE meatballs, and these Southern Spiced Turkey Meatballs were divine. Unlike the balls most of us are accustomed to, which tend to come covered in tomato-based sauce, these guys came in a bowl of spicy, onion-y broth perfect for mopping up with a side of griddled French bread.
But it was the Beer Battered Crepes that became my ultimate fave – filled with spiced roasted pumpkin, smoked gouda cheese and a salad of baby arugula and roasted red peppers. Even the fact that my stomach was already exploding couldn’t stop me from finishing off this guy. The ideal savory dessert-like dish, the beer batter added an extra crunchyness to the crepe which I think should be deemed necessary for all crepes from here on out.
In the grand scheme of things, I’ll admit my choices were a little mild in comparison to some of the other menu items they offer at Tupelo. I’m definitely hoping to get myself back there soon with some more adventurous eaters to try out the Gumbo and Duck Legs. On our way out we decided to take one of their desserts to-go, a slice of Maple Pecan Pie courtesy of Petsi Pies with a side of Bourbon ice cream from Toscanini, and yes, they were phenomenal — both separately and as a whole. But don’t even get me started on the Pecan Pie at Za. J’adore.
1193 Cambridge St.