A Cool, Hip Place to Eat
Last night, I decided to treat myself to a really nice dinner. Initially, I wanted to go to Bari Ristorante in Overton Square, but because I got off work late and hadn't made a reservation, I couldn't get a table. Afterward, I headed to Cooper-Young to try out the new Italian restaurant, Cortona, located in the space formerly occupied by Dish. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a table there either, which put me at a loss as to where to go for dinner. Fortunately, there are many quality restaurants at the Cooper and Young intersection to choose from, so I decided to go to the Beauty Shop. I had hoped a bartender that I knew would be on duty in case I needed to wait for a table, but he wasn't there. Luckily, the restaurant had an open table, so I was seated immediately.
After getting seated at a table, I immediately ordered a Stella Artois to sip on while I perused the menu. With my mind still set on pasta, I opted for the Bar Steak as an appetizer and The Pasta of The Day (or "Pasta di Giorno" to my Italian friends) for the main course. For my wine, I went with the pinot grigio from Tomasso that proved to be a nice complement.
The Bar Steak is nothing more than slices of beef tenderloin swimming in what I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) was olive oil and garnished with arugula. Accompanied with potato chips (or "gaufrettes" to the high brow folks who would never eat snack foods), the Bar Steak was a nice prequel to the main course. The taste was similar to pan-seared roast beef without the overseasoning of salt. The meat was nicely tenderized, which made chewing it with the arugula a delight. After I finished it, I was anxious to get to the main course.
The Pasta of The Day that I had was cheese ravioli in a veal cream sauce. I asked my server what the entrée was called, and she said that it didn't have a name. I really liked the sauce, for it tasted like it had a little bit of vinegar (or white cooking wine) in it, and it was pretty meaty. With the pinot grigio, the ravioli was really good and it satisfied my appetite. I liked the sauce so much that I tried to eat the rest of it after I finished the ravioli (should've gotten a spoon). In all, I thought it was a good menu choice because for a non-Italian restaurant, the chefs at the Beauty Shop seem to know what they're doing.
Overall, the Beauty Shop is a restaurant that I have enjoyed going to for the past few years. Whether it is a cheeseburger for lunch, grilled lamb sirloin for dinner and shrimp and grits for Sunday Brunch, I have never had a bad meal there. If you're eating outside, try not to do it under a tree. While eating shrimp and grits during a Sunday Brunch, a bird doing his "business" almost ruined it for me, so beware of that. In addition to great dining, the restaurant also provides an atmosphere for socializing via its bar and overall interior design theme, where a lot of seemingly hip and cool people hang out. In all, the Beauty Shop is one of the better restaurants in Memphis. Check it out, and if you're fortunate to have the bartender Bjarni serve you a cocktail, you're going to have a good time.