It Gets Real at The Second Line
Do you want an authentic New Orleans po'boy? Or authentic casual New Orleans anything? Go to The Second Line, Chef Kelly English's new restaurant, which opened a few weeks ago. I went for dinner on Sunday and tried a bunch of the traditional New Orleans fare, which did not include anything blackened.
The Second Line is a cozy dinner spot in a renovated house next door to Restaurant Iris. It was surprisingly busy at 5:45 on a Sunday night, but my two friends and I didn't have to wait to be seated. If you want to know about where the name comes from, check out this explanation of a second line straight from the source.
Photo via @tifflangston from a less busy evening.
There's a medium-sized bar and a couple of TVs that were showing the Saints game rather than the Grizzlies, which I thought was appropriate. Later on in the evening, the chef passed through the dining room several times wearing a black-and-gold jersey, so keep that in mind, Saints fans. You are welcome here.
I ordered a High Cotton IPA (The Second Line is still waiting on their liquor license) and some crab meat hushpuppies to start. They came out quickly in an adorable cast iron mini-skillet with a ranch-like sauce.
I grew up eating roast beef po'boys on Sundays, so though the seafood was tempting, I had a moral obligation to order the roast White Oaks pasture beef po'boy.
First rule of po'boy makin': good bread. It is so very sad when I order a po'boy (or any sandwich) somewhere and find myself faced with bread so tough I have to gnaw on my sandwich to get a bite. It is a very unattractive way to have to eat.
This is no problem at The Second Line because Chef Kelly English brings in New Orleans bread for his po'boys, and the texture is perfect: absorbent but not too soggy, toasted but not hard. In addition, the meat had a cravable savory flavor, and there was an appropriate amount of jus drippage. I'd order it again.
Fried Seafood Platter with shrimp, oysters, and catfish. Photo via @tifflangston.
Also there are meat pies. Photo via @tifflangston.
Clockwise from top left: fried oyster salad and stewed beet greens, crab meat and fresh corn hushpuppies, red beans and rice, bread pudding.
For dessert, they had either bread pudding from Restaurant Iris or a root beer float, so obviously we ordered both. The bread pudding tasted as sweet and rich as you'd imagine, and I hadn't had a root beer float in ages, so that was fun. Starters are in the $8-$12, po'boys are $12-$15, and sides are about $5.
The Second Line is open Monday through Friday starting at 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. until everyone goes home. There are a few seemingly vegetarian options, but ask your server to be sure about cooking methods. There were several families with kids when I went (early on a Sunday) and the menu is accessible, so I will call The Second Line family-friendly.
The Second Line
2144 Monroe Avenue
Memphis, Tennessee 38104