Another Breakfast Gem
On a whim, I went to Alannah's Breakfast Kafé (formerly Cafe Napoleon) to check out something that I've heard about. According to some, the cafe serves some of the best catfish in Downtown Memphis. That's a heady claim, considering the competition from places like The Little Tea Shop, Blues City Cafe and Kooky Canuck (it's much more than a burger joint). I wanted to see for myself if the catfish was as good as the hype.
My entrée of choice was the Catfish & Grits with scrambled eggs and wheat toast. Eating catfish for breakfast seems somewhat unusual, but I'll try anything at least once. It isn't more ridiculous than chicken and waffles, a dish that is seemingly on the menus of most diners in the nation. Although I will never fully embrace the concept of either chicken or catfish for breakfast, what I had at Alannah's made a good impression on me.
The foundation of this entrée is the catfish. What I like about it is the seasoning, which has a strong presence of cayenne and black pepper that isn't too spicy despite being very flavorful. The catfish itself is tender to the point that it melts in your mouth, combined with perfectly fried cornmeal breading makes for something very delicious.
As part of my breakfast, the catfish went well with both grits and scrambled eggs. Speaking of the grits, they are swimming in butter (or margarine) so those with heart problems should take note. As a person who loves mixing butter and seafood, the catfish and grits completely hit the spot. The eggs are a bit bland, but I consider it a good thing because I don't want it conflicting with the catfish. To make a long story short, Alannah's Catfish & Grits is great and worthy of its praises.
In addition to breakfast, Alannah's also serves lunch with a menu of Soul Food and barbecue. The former consists of familiar staples like fried chicken, pork chops, green beans and black-eyed peas. The "Q" comes from Interstate Barbecue, not exactly a favorite of mine but appeals to tourists and some of my friends. Despite serving lunch, the other favorite among Yelp reviewers is the chicken and waffles. If it's as good as its catfish and grits, I'll have something to look forward to on my next visit.
Run primarily by owners Ollie and Stephanie McDowell (the restaurant is named after their daughter), the service at Alannah's Breakfast Kafé is very friendly and attentive. Mrs. McDowell did a good job of taking care of me throughout my breakfast, making sure that I had everything I needed. The restaurant (on Main St. across from the Renaissance Apartments and Wrapzody) is very clean and cozy, so most would feel comfortable dining there. With it being far from the popular parts of Downtown Memphis (Beale Street, South Main Arts District, etc.), I hope my friends and others will take the time to discover the good food at Alannah's.
UPDATE: I went back for Alannah’s Chicken and Waffles that were absolutely delicious. Consisting of fried chicken wings on top of a sugar-powdered Belgian waffle, the combination is an example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. By themselves, the individual components are a bit above average. The wings are on par with restaurants like Jack Pirtle’s and the waffle is comparable to those served from places like Cafe Eclectic. Throw them together with butter and maple syrup for an amazing mix of tantalizing flavors that will convert any doubter about the dish, including myself. For me, Alannah’s version of the entrée is the first that I really liked. I think part of the reason for it might be due to the cafe's use of dark meat as opposed to chicken breast that restaurants like Miss Polly's uses for the entrée. Whatever the reason, Alannah's dish definitely made an impression on me. Until someone can prove otherwise, Alannah’s Breakfast Kafé is the place to go for chicken and waffles in Memphis.
MENU - I'm including it because one of Alannah's online menus is in Latin, a "dead" language unfamiliar to most people I know.
Labels: Barbecue, Breakfast, Downtown, Soul Food
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