Leave it the chefs at Acre to turn a pedestrian dish like pea soup into a delicious and sexy start up for lunch. Served in a simple white bowl, the soup includes a wave of carrot foam, a sea of sweet peas, and a Parmesan flan hiding underneath. Each spoonful blends color, taste, and texture.
I met Ken Neill, the publisher of Memphis magazine, at Acre for lunch last week, and we were both impressed with our food. The soup was Ken’s first course, followed by Pancetta Risotto, a hearty bowl of risotto made with asparagus, peas, and truffle and cauliflower cream. A plump poached egg and a pinch of caviar sat on top.
I went in a different direction, starting with Quinoa Tabouleh, a light summer mix of avocado, pieces of crispy falafel, and yogurt-dipped apple slices. (My quinoa never tastes this good.) For my entrée, I ordered the day’s lunch special, a heavenly ramen with succulent slices of pork belly and pork loin, peanuts, and spring onions.
After lunch, we chatted with executive chef Andrew Adams, who spends half his day cooking at the Brushmark, and the other half at Acre. I asked him about his new kitchen at 690 South Perkins. “We like it,” he said with enthusiasm. “It’s also not too complicated, so if something breaks, we can fix it ourselves.”
Although the restaurant has only been open a few months, Adams is already making plans for the addition of a bread-baking oven in the restaurant’s side garden. He says the oven will ease his bread-making duties and add a fun spot for people to congregate in the extended outdoor patio.
On the way out, we also said hi to bartender Bart Mallard who was excited about his latest seasonal cocktail: moonshine infused with corn, peaches, and figs. “Moonshine?” I asked, flabbergasted. “Yes, and I’m excited about it,” he said, laughing. “It will be ready to try in about two weeks.”Acre, 690 S. Perkins, acrememphis.com (901-818-2273)