John Besh’s Restaurant, N’awlins

Since we were staying overnight in Tunica, we decided to have supper at John Besh’s restaurant there, N’awlins. John won the 2006 James Beard Award (which is like the Oscars for chefs) in the Southeastern chefs category. His other restaurant, Restaurant August, in New Orleans, is considered one of the city’s very best so we were looking forward to trying this one.

There are *serious* differences between dining here and in New Orleans, though. For one thing, getting a reservation was no problem at all. The decor wasn’t as nice as I had figured it would be, and the patrons were dressed waaaay down – even shorts and blue jeans. We could occasionally hear the slot machines going off outside the door (which was kept open), and our server was really-really bad. I think English was his second language so I tried to think that the reason he was terse with us was because maybe he didn’t understand the way he was coming across, or wasn’t comfortable making small talk.

We started with the barbecue shrimp, which had almost an Indian-type flavor. They were really good:
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Av had the trio of soups – gumbo, crab bisque, and turtle. The bisque was best but they were all good. Sherry was offered with the turtle soup, and rather than the server offering it to Av to add as needed after he tasted it, the server just dumped the whole portion of sherry in…:
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Av had the tournedo of beef which was nice:
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…and I had the sugar cane-lacquered chicken. The chicken itself was really delicious but I think because there was a sweet sauce all over the plate, it made everything almost sickly-sweet. Not to be all Iron Chef judge-y, but there wasn’t anything else savory on the plate so it was all almost like candy.
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I think we must have gone on an off-night because nothing was really “wow” – but really the thing that turned us off the most was the waiter, who besides being very ‘short’ with us, got into an argument with the host…and the argument went on most of the time we were there.

There are plenty of wonderful places in Memphis to try, though, and since it’s only about 30 minutes away that’s probably what we’ll do the next time we want to have something nicer – like Folk’s Folly or Erling Jensen or…

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