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

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Cottage

Good Food, Great Hospitality

Last month, while on a "temp" assignment at a Binghampton church, I got the chance to visit The Cottage. This wasn't my first visit to the diner, but it had been a while since I last ate there. Fortunately, the generous furniture company that I worked for treated our crew to lunch.

During the visit, we could have ordered anything from the menu. Although the Steak & Eggs were tempting, my love for chicken fried steak lured me to it. I have always been a fan of the staple, even as a kid. Of course, most battered and deep-fried food will appeal to my Southern sensibilities. Within that group, chicken fried steak is near the top of the list.

Although finding a good chicken fried steak is easy, finding a great one is rare. My hope was that The Cottage's steak would be as huge and tasty as the one I had at The Port, a restaurant on Memphis' President’s Island. While it didn't measure up to The Port's standards, The Cottage acquitted itself well.


The chicken fried steak was average in terms of size (8 oz.) and taste. Like most places, it was "well done" and encased in a flakey breaded crust. Although the steak itself had seasoning, most of the flavor came from the brown gravy. It had a tangy taste due to The Cottage's mix of beef bouillon, garlic, onion powder, black pepper and salt. In thinking about it, the gravy wasn't different from most places. In all, The Cottage's chicken fried steak didn't "wow" me, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

The sides were a little more impressive than the main course. The turnip greens were okay. Its salty seasoning yielded taste similar to most restaurants that serve it. The mashed potatoes were thick and chunky due to the slices of red potatoes in it. It meshed nicely with the chicken fried steak and gravy, as did the yeast rolls. The rolls were fluffy with a strong doughy flavor. Even without butter and gravy, the rolls were the best part of the meal.

The day that I dined at The Cottage was a Monday. That's the day the diner offers free banana pudding with the chicken fried steak. This was a pleasant surprise that I took advantage of. It was creamy and sweet with flavor from the pudding and vanilla wafer cookies. Compared to other banana puddings that I've had, The Cottage doesn't stand out. Nevertheless, it was delicious and served as a nice ending to my lunch.

Overall, my impression of The Cottage is positive. It is a nice Southern diner with plenty of charm. The food is decent by most standards, and served by a delightful and friendly waitstaff. Although it will never fall into my rotation of places I frequent, I will always keep The Cottage in mind whenever I'm yearning good old-fashioned Memphis hospitality.

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Labels: Binghampton, Breakfast, Brunch, Diner, Soul Food, Southern

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