Restaurant Iris is now serving a tasting menu. Selections currently include crab, foie gras with champagne caviar, scallop and truffle "latte," and pork cooked three ways. Wine pairings selected nightly by front-of-the-house manager Jeffrey Frisby are being offered in conjunction with the special menu. The tasting menu is priced at $55 plus tax and gratuity or $75 including the wine pairings.
Iris also has put together a unique selection of wines. "Our goal when creating the initial wine list was to offer our guests a wine experience that matched the quality and uniqueness of the food and atmosphere," Frisby says. "Chef Kelly English and I did not want to offer the same wines that other restaurants do. To us, that would have taken away from the entire dining experience."
One of the wines they offer by the bottle is not available anywhere in the city. "When we tasted the Lachini Vineyards La Bestia Cabernet Sauvignon, we just knew we had to have it," English says. "It is truly an astonishing wine and unlike anything I've had before."
"We hope to continue to bring in wines that will be poured exclusively at Iris," Frisby says. "We are working with a winery in California to bring in a special cuvée, the 'Iris Cuvée,' perhaps."
Restaurant Iris, 2146 Monroe (590-2828)
Roustica is hosting a "Double X" wine dinner on Thursday, June 19th, at 7 p.m. Elizabeth Mall with Delta Wholesale and Larin Culp with United Liquors have selected wines from women winemakers to match Chef Kevin Rains' cuisine. Wines from Handley Vineyards and Gundlach-Bundschu will be featured, along with some special surprises.
"I'm working hard to secure some wine from one of the most famous, if not the most famous, names in Italian winemaking," Mall says. "I don't want to spoil the surprise, so I can't divulge who it is. You'll just have to come see for yourself!"
The four-course dinner includes prosciutto-wrapped figs stuffed with goat cheese, apricots, and cherries with a balsamic reduction, Maine lobster tail with risotto and parsley cream, roulade of roasted veal breast stuffed with baby spinach and fresh cherries, and a dark-chocolate mousse "tower." Cost to attend is $55 plus tax and gratuity.
Roustica, 1545 Overton Park
The Memphis Farmers Market at Central Station holds another Farmers Market Dinner Tour at Chef John Bragg's Circa restaurant on Sunday, June 22nd, at 6 p.m.
Bragg is planning to serve dishes such as fresh green salad with curry-fried oysters, roasted heirloom tomatoes stuffed with jumbo lump crab meat, Neola Farms beef short ribs, a cheese course with Bonnie Blue Farms, and a market-inspired dessert.
Courses will be paired with a selection of wines from across the globe. Cost to attend is $65 per person plus tax and gratuity. This event will benefit the Memphis Farmers Market with 30 percent of the proceeds going to the market.
Circa, 119 S. Main (522-1488)
The Memphis Farmers Market isn't only about produce; it's also the source for some of the best bread in town. Sheri McKelvie bakes a variety of artisan breads, including cranberry walnut, honey whole-wheat sunflower seed, black olive, and baguette.
McKelvie doesn't use preservatives and starts with a "mother" dough, which gives the breads a more toothsome texture than industrially baked breads. McKelvie once worked for City Bakery and owned her own bakery, La Morinda.
McKelvie's artisan breads are available for purchase at the Memphis Farmers Market every Saturday. Prices vary from $3 to $6, depending on the selection. Be warned: She typically sells out by mid-morning.
Memphis Farmers Market, Central Station Pavilion, Saturdays, 7 a.m.-1 p.m.