Sunday, April 18, 2010
Today, we had yet another chance to try a new eatery in Memphis, midtown to be exact. Fuel Cafe is where we decided to grab some Sunday brunch after Church with some friends. I noticed this place yesterday as I was driving down Madison. Naturally, I wrote down the name and googled it when I got home. Sadly, there is no website to be found, but it did have an entry in Urbanspoon with an article in the Commercial Appeal and a little write-up in the Memphis Magazine. First tip, they need to get a website up and running pronto. I believe they have been in business since February this year and, in my opinion, there's no excuse for such a trendy, new joint. Now and days, a restaurant's website is the first impression for us and many others. Who wants to drive all the way to a place without "web-checking" it first?
I've always been intrigued by this restaurant space. It's an old gas station and though there's no emotional attachment, its vintage look feels somewhat sentimental and timeless. The restaurant it formerly housed was Petra. We always wanted to try it, but never got around to it - too late now. It's OK though, because I think I was always drawn more toward the building than the restaurant itself. So, today was a perfect opportunity to try a new cafe and to experience/enjoy the vintage surroundings. I'm a sucker for sentiment :)
Onto the review, the space was very eclectic, trendy, and vintage. I loved its uniqueness and out-of-the-box atmosphere. It's quite cramped, but just adds to the rare gas station/restaurant experience. The idea behind this restaurant is the ever so trendy natural/organic/fresh ingredients approach. They had an interesting collection on the menu, which you can find on the urbanspoon entry above. The menu is pretty much the same for Sunday Brunch with the addition of some supposedly phenomenal pancakes. However, our group decided to bypass the pancakes and opted for selections more unique to this place - bison burger, salmon and whitefish cakes benedict, and a couple of salads. The bison burger left much to be desired - tasted like a typical burger. It was not extremely impressive, but it was tasty. However, the french fries were quite delicious, but Jon and I agree that Interim still holds the trophy for best fries. The salads were fresh with an enticing sweet vinaigrette, but needed more toppings and a little less salad. The salmon and whitefish cakes benedict was definitely different and tasty. However, the eggs were over-poached and the cakes a little overpowered by the green onions and capers. I enjoyed the benedict dish, but it's nothing to write home about. The service was, well.....interesting. The waitress was a little awkward, we were served water with floating who-knows-what, and the waitress raved on and on about our delicious dishes that tasted pretty ordinary to us. Overall, I probably won't go back unless I'm with a group who wants to try it. We give Fuel Cafe a rating of 2 stars.