This blog is devoted to highlighting restaurants of Memphis, Tennessee.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sweden Kream

One of Best Burgers in Memphis!

Sweden Kream, despite its name, makes the best hamburger in Memphis. The burger (which I usually get with cheese) is simple, consisting of lettuce, tomato, mayo and a perfectly cooked ⅓-pound Black Angus beef patty. The meat is tender and well seasoned in salt and pepper, with just enough grease to give it that element of juiciness. It usually takes about thirty minutes for the restaurant to cook, but it is well worth the wait (I usually call-in my order well in advance). I always order fries with my burger, which complements the sandwich well even though the fries are about average. The cheeseburger and fries cost just over $5, which is a pretty good deal compared to national fast food chains, whose quality isn't nearly as good. Also, I think it is better than Jerry's Sno Cones, a similar, albeit better known establishment that is about a mile away in the same Nutbush neighborhood that Sweden Kream is located.
So far, I haven't tried anything else on the menu, but if the rest of the food is as good as the burgers, I look forward to trying them in the future.

Great Wings Experience

I've always been a fan of Sweden Kream, exclusively for its burgers. However, lately I've been fascinated by Buffalo-style hot wings. This fascination isn't rooted in my love of chicken wings, but rather in the techniques used to make them. It seems that most places prepare and cook them the same way, with very little differences between them. So out of curiosity, I decided to pay a couple of visits to Sweden Kream.
As I said, Sweden Kream has been my favorite burger place for a long time. I like its burgers because of the perfectly seasoned Black Angus beef combined with the right mix of toppings. Anytime I bite into one of Sweden Kream's burgers, I know that I will get a unique experience that I can't get anywhere else. Of course, the same can said of most places that serve great burgers, such as Kooky Canuck, Roxie's and Big Burger, a North Memphis institution that doesn't get enough recognition. If a burger is good (or bad) enough to have a "signature," it is noteworthy. I had hopes that Sweden Kream's wings would have that same kind of distinction, but what I found was interesting.
When I placed my first order of hot wings from Sweden Kream, I did it over the phobre without the benefit of having a menu. I chose the "hot" wings as part of a combo consisting of five "party" (which aren't whole) wings, fries and a soda. It also includes choices of either celery or carrots and either blue cheese or ranch dressing (I prefer celery and blue cheese). I assumed the wings would have Buffalo sauce, but what I got surprised me. Instead of being smothered in Buffalo sauce, the wings had a coating of a dark sauce with a smokey flavor. They kind of resembled the barbecue wings that Cozy Corner makes, with the difference being that Sweden Kream's wings were fried. When I asked about the sauce, the woman working the counter insisted that it was a "hot" sauce and not barbecue. According to Sweden Kream's menu, its hot wings are "hickory flavored" which some might interpret as barbecue. Once I got over the disappointment of not getting authentically hot Buffalo wings, I settled for enjoying a really good meal.

I'm sorry for not getting a better photo. The wings should have been on a plate, which would have allowed for better lighting. I hope to provide a better picture soon.
Despite not getting traditional Buffalo wings, I wasn't deprived of all the "heat” I desired. Sweden Kream's wings had the hot spiciness that I wanted with a smoky flavor. The wing sauce had plenty of vinegar that had a lingering aftertaste that I didn't mind. The wings themselves were a bit small, which suited me well because I only needed a light meal. They were also thoroughly fried, but the sauce rendered the wings’ texture to the point where it felt like roasted chicken. Overall, Sweden Kream's hot wings were great for what they were (pseudo barbecue), but I yearned for the real deal.
On my second visit, my wish for authentic hot Buffalo wings was somewhat fulfilled. I originally wanted Honey Gold wings, but as I looked over the menu of flavor choices (something I didn't do on the first visit), I noticed a peculiar option: Buffalo. When I saw that, I decided to get a ten-piece order of wings, with half of it Buffalo and the other half Honey Gold. After a long wait (over twenty minutes), my wings arrived on a single plate. In hindsight, I should have requested that the Buffalo and Honey Gold wings be separated so the sauces wouldn't mix. Actually, the only sauce that I had to deal with came from the Honey Gold wings. The Buffalo wings were apparently cooked with a dry rub seasoning which I am not accustomed to. Despite the lack of Buffalo sauce, I dug into my wings and made the best of it.


The Honey Gold wings from Sweden Kream were the sweetest of this type that I've had so far. Unlike places like Ching's and Adline's, Sweden Kream's Honey Gold wings lacked the balance between spiciness and sweetness. Even though the wings were sweeter than I expected, they were impressive enough for me to order again. However, I also might consider ordering the Honey Hot wings if I'm craving for spice to go with my honey.
As for Sweden Kream's Buffalo wings, they were decent for what they were. The dry rub seasoning provided the requisite Buffalo flavor, but it lacked the spiciness that I desired. Besides, without an accompanying sauce, the Buffalo wings were nothing more than fried chicken with Cayenne pepper seasoning. Fortunately, because they were on the same plate as my Honey Gold wings, the Buffalo wings got the benefit of sauce. Although it wasn't the same as "The Real McCoy," the Honey Gold sauce added sweet pizzazz to the Buffalo wings. In fact, I felt that the sauce made the chicken more like the Honey Gold wings that I'm accustomed to. Overall, the Buffalo wings were good but nothing out of the ordinary.
After I finished my wings, I decided to get dessert. In honor of the restaurant's name, I got a Swedish Blitzer. The dessert consists of ice cream topped with whipped cream and candy/cookie pieces. When I ordered mine, I didn't specify an ice cream flavor so I ended up with vanilla. However, among the six candy/cookie toppings that Sweden Kream offers, I chose "Chocolate Chip Cookie." All together, the Swedish Blitzer was a creamy sweet treat that I really enjoyed.


In summary, both of the wing meals that I had were delightful. From the experiences, I learned more about Buffalo wings. I've found out that the wings can either be made with a sauce or dry rub seasoning. The latter was something that I never noticed even though I've had dry rub wings in the past. Personally, I like my Buffalo wings the same way I like my barbecue, with lots of sauce. However, dry rub wings are good in some environments. For example, during a recent visit to the Slider Inn, I ran into a former Flying Saucer Girl who just finished her bartending shift. While rapping with Kyla (who will soon be working at Aldo's Pizza Pies when it opens), it would have been embarrassing if I made a mess of myself after eating a half-dozen Buffalo wings drenched in sauce. Fortunately, the bar's dry rub wings allowed me to eat while having a casual conversation. Therefore, I recognize the function that dry rub Buffalo wings can play in certain social situations although it will never be my preference.
As far as the dry rub/sauce debate relates to Sweden Kream, I would offer a saucy version of the Buffalo wings if I were running it. Of course, the owners know their customers better than I do so I can't argue with the restaurant's success. Apparently they are doing something right, which is why the restaurant has a loyal following. As part of that following, I will always hold it in high regard as one of the best restaurants in Memphis.

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LabelsBurgers, Dessert, Nutbush/Berclair



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