Friday Lunch Date at Felicia Suzanne’s
Memphis chef Felicia Willett is known for her high-quality twist on Southern Creole cuisine in a fine dining atmosphere. Her downtown restaurant, Felicia Suzanne's, celebrated 13 years in business this month. The spot is mostly known for dinner, but she does offer a mean Friday lunch that's one of my favorite spots for a special end-of-week treat.
On a recent rainy Friday, I Love Memphis intern Savannah and I went to check it out. Later, Savannah had a great interview with Chef Felicia, who shared her thoughts on restaurants, food inspiration, her background, and her love of Memphis. To read that, go here.
Holly: First off, if you've never been to Felicia Suzanne's, it's located downtown at Main and Monroe. The interior feels high class, bright and airy during the day. You can sit at white-clothed tables in the main dining room, on the red velvety banquet, or the stately bar. There's also a gorgeous, spacious patio.
Savannah and I settled in at a table on the banquette and decided to go straight for this place's best-known Friday lunch special: 25 cent martinis. Don Draper would love this place.
I was craving deviled eggs for some reason, so we had an order of Felicia's chow chow deviled eggs, topped with her signature pepper jelly ($8 for four). They did not disappoint.
Savannah: With great hunger comes great responsibility. Our waiter Kyle was super helpful in describing dishes and answering questions to narrow down our choices. But if you need first-hand evidence of a dish’s credibility, a quick survey of the tables around you will confirm that whatever you order will suffice.
Holly: Pretty much everything on the lunch menu sounded delicious. There were Southern classics like a pimento cheese BLT, chicken and waffles, dumplings, cheese grits, and bread and butter pickles, as well as several NOLA-inspired seafood options like seafood "poor boys", catfish, and shrimp and dumplings.
After some deliberation, we went with the salmon cakes and that day's special: steak tacos.
Savannah: Our food arrived in a very timely manner. Salmon and tacos are a bit of a strange mix, but that fact diminished once the plates hit the table; everything looked and smelled great. We dug in and never looked back.
Holly: The salmon cake was a tasty, savory lump of salmon meat, breading, and seasoning piled on asparagus with two sauces, a tangy mustard and a remoulade. It was very substantial and had a good flavor ($12).
The tacos were are made with corn tortillas, tender steak slices grilled to a nice medium/medium-rare, with fresh avocado, onions, and cilantro (similar to Las Delicias) and served with a side of greens and salsa. They were solid tacos, very fresh and flavorful (about $13).
Savannah: Although I’m used to tacos loaded with the usual messy works — cheese, sour cream, and everything else unhealthy — these “minimalistic tacos” were just as rich and filling. They were equally messy, too. Which is satisfying in its own right.
Holly: Even though we were stuffed, Savannah and I were way too tempted by the ice cream sandwiches on the dessert menu. It came with three sandwiches, as best we could tell with different ice cream flavors and kinds of cookies ($6). My favorite was the dark chocolate cookies with peppermint ice cream.
Savannah: If I had a secret diary of all my favorite desserts, these would be in the top five. They weren’t those rock hard frozen cookies that made you fear cracking a tooth, either. Everything Holly and I ate was delicious, but for me, these guys were the showstoppers.
Holly: Felicia Suzanne's is open for dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays starting at 5 p.m. and for lunch on Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. There are vegetarian options. If you have any other dining restrictions, just give them a call ahead of time and the kitchen will work to accommodate you.
Felicia Suzanne's wouldn't be my number one choice for a kid-friendly meal, but families are certainly welcome. The restaurant is ADA accessible and parking is available in nearby garages. I'd suggest reservations, especially for Friday lunch and weekend evenings.
80 Monroe Avenue, Ste. L1
Memphis, Tennessee 38103