Although Itta Bena is not open for lunch, getting this review out during the beginning of rumbly tummies will hopefully motivate your choice for a downtown dinner tonight. Today, I'm welcoming one of the guest bloggers for this month my hubby Christopher and coordinator of the Foodie Memphis dinner group that supports great local eateries. The Foodie Memphis dinner group will soon have a blog reviewing the restaurants we visit every month. This month on December 14 join us at Alex's Tavern. RSVP here.
Find Christopher's review below after scrolling through my photos, some challenged with the low, ultra-romantic lighting. Thanks Christopher!
We almost missed downtown dining week, just slipping in on the last Sunday for dinner at Itta Bena. I was especially pleased with their accommodating our early reservation. Knowing that an excitable four year old and a large crowd may not mix, we made our reservation for 5:30.
Even though Itta Bena is above BB Kings on Beale Street, the entrance is around the corner on 2nd, just before the alley. Having driven past it every day going to work, I had often wondered where the cool exterior stair led. Seeing the valet posted out there I assumed somewhere interesting.
Atticus was especially excited about the stairway. I don’t know why a stairway would have an effect on the dining experience, but something about it really did raise the excitement level for the meal.
We were quickly seated and got our orders in rather easily, once Atticus stopped flirting with the server. They had 2 specials on the menu, which we planned to share, so Sophorn ordered one, and I the other. I had the Caesar salad, the hand cut rib eye, and the warm brownie a la mode. Sophorn had the Signature She crab soup, the shrimp and grits, and the mango sorbet.
Unfortunately there are no photos of the mango sorbet. A certain 4 year old couldn’t wait for photos to be taken. Mango is one of Atticus’ favorite fruits, so he was ecstatic when they brought it out. I have to admit, after tasting it, I was pretty happy myself.
All the food was delicious, but if I had to name a favorite or two, I would have to vote for the Signature She Crab soup, the rib eye steak, and of course the mango sorbet. The sorbet alone was worth another visit.
After dinner we wandered around the restaurant. It is dark but comfortable. The lounge area overlooking Beale is quite the man cave, with plush leather couches and a large screen TV. Right next to the lounge is a little performance area where one can watch Queen Ruby Wilson and Lady Di Anne Price every Thursday night. They usually start around 7.
Atticus really enjoyed looking out at the world through the blue tinted windows. While Sophorn was taking a few more photos, Atticus and I said goodbye to our wonderful server, thrice, and then went outside to see what everything really looked like from the blue windows.
P.S. The secret to taking a 4 year old to a fancy restaurant ~ the portable dvd player. "Dinner and a movie!"
Itta Bena Restaurant
145 Second Ave.
Memphis, TN 38103
Open for dinner at 5pm.
Photos by Sophorn.