Tupelo, a new New Orleans/Southern restaurant, is definitely one of the best bangs for your buck when it comes to dining in Cambridge. The ambiance is cozy and laid back, the food is pretty good, and the prices are very reasonable. Appetizers ranged between $5 and $8 and dinner entrees between $9 and $15.
Over all, the food is decent. Some dishes really stand out, and most dishes are pretty solid. Drinks are reasonably priced too, and the desserts, (especially the PIES! from Petsi Pies) are excellent.
The biggest negative might be that they don't take reservations. Since the restaurant is pretty small, you may have to wait quite a while before you can get a seat.
On Friday night, we waited about 25 minutes before getting a seat around 7:40 PM for 4 people.
Here's what we got:
Baby Spinach and apple salad with Creole vinaigrette. ($5)
This salad was fine - cheap at only $5. As Bryan said, "it's for people who want to order something healthy at a Southern restaurant." It was OK - nothing special, but nothing bad either.
Southern spiced turkey meatballs with a wedge of French bread for mopping up. ($6)
The meatballs were very flavorful, although borderline salty for my sensitive tastes (the guys thought it was perfectly fine). The meatballs are stewed in a flavorful broth, which is perfect for mopping up with the bread
Cheddar Grits. ($5)
This was my favorite part of the entire meal - deep fried grits! Fresh out of the fryer, then were soooo good! I already love corn and I love grits, so it's no big surprise that I loved this dish. Crunchy on the outside, cheesy and moist on the inside. It was sort of addictive. Definitely worth getting.
Daube of Beef: Beef braised in red wine with hominy mashed potatoes, slow cooked greens and Creole horseradish cream. ($15)
We thought this dish was quite ordinary. The beef was a bit overcooked, and thus a bit tough in texture. The flavor was OK, but nothing really stood out.
Fried Cat Fish: Crispy Cat fish with fresh green tomatoes, parsley potatoes and pickled jalapeno aioli. ($14.50)
This dish was solid, and I liked it better than the beef. The fried catfish was cooked well, and the sides were flavorful.
The desserts come from Petsi Pies, whose owner is also a co-owner of Tupelo.
The keylime pie was described as a "tart" key lime pie, and it kept up to its promise. I like tart pies, so I enjoyed this pie. Some other members of our party who didn't like sour desserts did not enjoy this one as much.
Conclusion: Tupelo has good food, great atmosphere, and is a GREAT addition to the neighborhood. Especially for the price, it's definitely worth a visit. If you go - make sure to order the cheddar grits and get a piece of blueberry pie!
1193 Cambridge St.,
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