Eat This: Southern Lunch Menu at Capriccio Grill
If you want to take your downtown lunch game to the next level, head to Capriccio Grill in the Peabody Hotel, because they have a new menu that’s full of Southern dishes. I stopped by for a media tasting during lunch today (May 2015).
We got to meet Chef Derek Smith, who has a cool story. He was born and raised in Memphis, worked at Kroger for 14 years, then owned his own business before coming to work at the Peabody.
He says he started out in room service, then worked his way up through the years until he was a part of the kitchen team at the Peabody’s fine dining restaurant Chez Phillipe where he learned under some of the best chefs in Memphis.
Now he’s finally landed at the helm of Capriccio Grill. To create this new “modern Southern comfort” menu, he’s using a combination of his grandmother’s recipes and recipes from other kitchen staff members.
Here’s a quick rundown of what we tried.
First off, the appetizers. We tried the deviled eggs, fried green tomatoes, and shrimp and grits. Each day, they’ll have a different “flavor” for the eggs, i.e., bacon, ranch, pepperoni, etc., in addition to the traditional preparation. They also have a variety of flavored teas and lemonades, which is new.
The grits were extremely creamy, which was odd to me. But the flavor was good and there were tiny shrimp mixed in with the grits. Note that the usual shrimp and grits appetizer comes with two jumbo shrimp. This was our family-style portion.
Next, they brought us this thing. It’s a BBQ salad in a Mason jar. I think the best way to eat it is to just pour it out on your plate.
It’s pulled smoked barbecue turkey with kidney beans and slaw, to be eaten over romaine. The turkey was especially tasty.
Then, it was time for crawfish mac ‘n’ cheese. If you go out to eat with any frequency, you’ve seen this dish a dozen times, and with good reason: it’s a great combination of flavors and it’s a simple crowd-pleaser. It was your creamy (rather than cheesy) style of macaroni and sauce, and the crawfish (which are fried) had a great flavor and satisfying crunch. I would order it again.
Next we tried the sandwiches. The BBQ Pork sandwich was incredibly rich and a little sweet, and quite good. I would order it again, but maybe split with a friend unless I was starving.
I get requests for muffalettas on the regular, and Capriccio’s version made the cut for me to recommend in the future. The shrimp po’boy received rave reviews from everyone at the table.
There was fried chicken (see image at the top). FYI a “normal” portion is a leg and a breast. It’s that thick, very crispy style of batter. Also received great reviews from everyone at the table.
The fried catfish came with a hushpuppy the size of a small planet, which was delightfully fluffy inside.
Full disclosure: I did not try this bacon cheeseburger topped with a fried green tomato, because I was nearly dead with fullness at this point and I knew dessert was on the way. But I wanted to show you the branded bun, because that’s just fun.
Finally: dessert. This Mississippi Mud Pie was divine. A must-order. Side note: that was the sweetest, juiciest raspberry I’ve ever had.
The bottom line is that this menu is great for visitors looking for a taste of the South in an upscale atmosphere, or locals who need a new downtown lunch option. I’m sure as folks explore the new menu, some fan favorites will arise. My money’s on the BBQ salad, shrimp poboy, and fried catfish.
There were several options for vegetarians. For vegans or gluten-free folks, not so much. Give Capriccio Grill a call if you have any dietary restrictions and they might be able to accommodate you. The Peabody Hotel and Capriccio Grill are both ADA accessible. I think kids would have plenty to choose from on this menu in case you have the little ones with you.
If you’re a Capriccio Grill regular, there’s no need to worry: the ever-popular pasta bar, chopped salad, and pizzas remain on the menu. For now, the dinner menu will remain the same style of Italian steakhouse, but changes may come at some point.
For lunch, you can get most of the sandwiches, salads, and daily specials for around $12 or go for the entrees, which range from $12 to $14 (except the BBQ ribs, which are $18). If you’re looking for a quick lunch, the daily specials are a great option.
The Peabody Hotel
149 Union Avenue, Memphis TN 38103