"Consistency is the foundation of virtue." --- Francis Bacon
"Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are dead." --- Aldous Huxley
So is consistency good or bad for a restaurant? It obviously depends. Like anything, a restaurant can be consistently good or consistently bad. Overall though, I think consistency is a high virtue for restaurants. At least if a restaurant is consistently bad, you can avoid it! But to find a consistently good restaurant, one that you can really bank on, one that is consistently good, that is a true virtue and a true find. Mayhaps even the foundation of all restaurant virtues? And consistency is probably the best adjective I can use to describe Interim --- consistently good. I've been to Interim at least 6 times, and I've never had a bad meal. In fact, I've never even been disappointed. It's always been good to great. When I went recently with Neel's extended family, it was no different.
Interim is located in East Memphis, on Sanderlin. A pretty good location, considering the wealth of restaurant goers in the area. Thus, Interim is easy access for numerous people willing and able to spend coin on a restaurant. And Interim is pricey. Not the priciest by any means, but with entrees in the $20 to $28 range, you're not going to go everyday. The first thing you notice about Interim is the decor. It is very modern with clean lines. You can see into the kitchen as the meal is prepared. Definitely a chic feel, which I enjoy. In fact, it might have the chicest decor of any restaurant in Memphis.
As you enter, you can tell everyone is enjoying themselves, since it is somewhat loud. But not too loud where you can't carry on a serious conversation at your table. The service has always been great, and my recent trip was no exception. In fact, the quality of the service was even better this most recent trip, considering we had a reservation for 20! They basically gave us the entire back room which is usually open to everyone.
Ahh, now on to the food. This past trip Neel and I started with the Mac and Cheese casserole, which was pretty awesome. You can definitely tell that it --- like everything on their menu --- is made from scratch with the freshest ingredients. In fact, the menu changes regularly to reflect the freshness of seasonal ingredients. (Note: sometimes the menu on the website is out of date, so don't rely on it religiously). I think a key to the Mac and Cheese was not only the freshness of the melted cheese but also that little bit of salty ham that balances the cheesiness quite well. Neel then got a Caesar salad which was also good. Unlike many restaurants, they did a good job of not dousing the salad in too much dressing. For entrees, Neel and I both got the pan seared salmon with a pesto orzo and finished with a tomato vinaigrette. It was accompanied by fried eggplant sticks. The salmon was cooked perfectly. I do wish that they put a bit more tomato vinaigrette on there though. My favorite part was probably the eggplant sticks. They were super crunchy and quite tasty, and I generally don't even like eggplant that much. But the crunchiness of the eggplant balanced out the tenderness of the salmon.
I got the salmon this time because I've tried so many other things on their menu. Their duck and beef tenderloin entrees are both home runs. And Neel usually gets their scallops. In fact, it might be her favorite scallops in Memphis. They do a great job of not overcooking them. But, a special shout out needs to go to their burger. I usually don't get a burger when going to a fine dining restaurant but WOW. I generally don't even like burgers that much. But this is the exception. It's the best burger in the city. In fact, I'm not sure if it's even close. They always cook it perfectly, and it melts in your mouth, literally. The size of the burger is quite generous and their fries are also great, not too greasy but still super tasty. Trust me, you won't be disappointed. In fact, at our table, most of the people had been to Interim before, and I think about 10 people got the burger. It's that good, and the restaurant is worth going to again just for the burger. It's also the cheapest entree on the menu, so another huge bonus. Basically, the Interim burger is one of my favorite entrees in the city. Strong words, but hey, the burger lives up to the hype.
Anyways, back to our most recent meal. For dessert, Neel got the warm chocolate cake and, unbeknowst to me at the time, ordered the vanilla bean creme brulee for me. She did that because she hates creme brulee, but knows I love it. The creme brulee was pretty good, but it didn't knock my socks off. Definitely worth ordering though. I thought the real standout was her chocolate cake. Served warm, with melted chocolate on the inside. The key was the vanilla gelato. The whole dessert was heavenly with that perfect blend of warm and cold, vanilla and chocolate. I left quite full because I couldn't stop eating all the great food. Overall, a great experience.
Now, I've had as good or even better meals at other Memphis restaurants. But often times, I go back to that restaurant and feel a bit disappointed. Not so with Interim. It seems that it is a restaurant that you can bank on for a high quality meal, every time you go. (or at least every time I've gone!). Therefore, in light of such consistent goodness at a time when that is so hard to find, we give Interim 4 stars.
5040 Sanderlin #105
Memphis, TN 38117