Cocktails and Snacks at Mollie Fontaine Lounge
A few weeks ago, I went to Mollie Fontaine Lounge for early dinner-and-drinks with my friend Allie. Even though it's been around for years, I realized I'd never tried the food at Mollie Fontaine Lounge, which is owned by Memphis Chef Karen Carrier.
The place: Mollie Fontaine Lounge is in an historic Victorian house in the Edge neighbhorhood. The atmosphere lives up to the "lounge" in the name; the lights are low, there are two bars (one on each floor), and the place is full of comfy chairs and sofas arranged in small groups. The decor is like if shabby chic and bohemian and contemporary styles had a baby – I dig it.
The drinks: We chose from the specality cocktail menu. Sometimes I try cocktails full of fancy ingredients and they seem unbalanced, or too sweet, or too boozy. That was not the case here; the bartenders clearly know what they're doing. I had the Mollie's Spirit, Allie had the Peach Basil Libation, and both were refreshing and tasty.
For round two, Allie decided to ask the bartender to create something with Memphis-distilled Roaring Tiger vodka, and the end result was so successful (grapefruity, but not too sweet) that we christened it the "Blushing Tiger" and I can only hope that they'll add it to the menu.
The food: Our server said that the crowd favorites were the mac 'n' cheese and the fries. Every time I want to sigh at the predictability of "gourmet style mac 'n' cheese" being a crowd favorite, I have to tell myself to hush because sometimes there's a good reason that things are popular. This mac 'n' cheese proved that point. It was creamy (as opposed to ultra-cheesy like Central BBQ's, which I also love), made with shell pasta, and garnished with bacon.
We tried the grilled fruit next. That day, Mollie's served pears drizzlied in balsamic vinaigrette and blue cheese: divine. I will probably go back and sit on the patio and order this and the Blushing Tiger cocktail at some point this summer.
We also ordered the souvlaki (charred lamb, veggies, tahini, pita) but after that rich mac 'n' cheese and the strong flavors of the fruit and blue cheese, this seemed like it was missing something – some type of sauce perhaps.
Finally, because everyone around us ordered it, we had to try the french fries. They were the crinkle-cut kind, tossed in truffle oil with black pepper and parmesan; the fries came in an adorable Chinese food takeout container with a side of aioli.
They were crispy and well-seasoned, but it's hard for me to go crazy for a pile of fries unless I'm absolutely starving. They'd be perfect for a table of hungry folks after several drinks. Literally everyone else sitting near us ordered this and seemed to really enjoy it, so I have a feeling this is probably just my personal preference.
The service: Excellent. I adore great service with someone who is friendly but professional, and that's what we got at Mollie Fontaine Lounge. Our server did a great job guiding us through a sampling of cocktails and food, and even made up a drink for Allie.
Maybe this goes without saying, but makes me eager to go somewhere when I know the service will be impeccable. I can say the same thing of the sevice at Karen Carrier's other restaurants, The Beauty Shop and Bar DKDC, which are some of my favorites.
The details: Mollie Fontaine Lounge is open for dinner and drinks Wednesdays through Saturdays at 5 p.m. There's live entertainment (musicians, DJs) starting after 8 p.m. almost every night.
They have a few vegetarian and gluten-free items, and while there are several things that would appeal to kids, I wouldn't say the place overall is meant for children.
Mollie Fontaine Lounge
679 Adams Avenue, Memphis TN 38103