The Elegant Farmer (Memphis)

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IMG_7195 Fresh and local. Farm to table. These phrases are taken for granted in today's restaurant industry, but the little house on Highland holds the differentiating descriptions to the highest degree. The certified Project Green Fork sticker proves it.

I have understood that The Elegant Farmer's lunch and dinner menus, both of which offer an "elevated" style of Southern comfort food, highlight salads/sandwiches and true main entrées, respectively. I am still dying to try the shrimp and grits dish for dinner, open five nights a week. However, my recent lunch was packed (per usual), and we left the patio very, very content.

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The caprese (first image) was unlike any other I have tasted. Maybe that's why Chef/Owner Mac Edwards calls it "Our Caprese Salad" on the menu. Juicy, local roma tomatoes are halved and drizzled with balsamic reduction and a basil pesto. The house made ricotta truly melts in your mouth and accompanies the tomatoes almost entirely better than the salad's traditional mozzarella namesake! I had to ask for a side of avocado because, well, I lately haven't been able to fully enjoy a meal without it. . . I'm addicted.

My side of sweet potato hash, a daily special, was fan-freaking-tastic. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert -- the natural sweetness of the blistered potato and caramelized onion carried me through the entire meal. I wish it were a permanent menu staple!

The roasted chicken cobb salad, add grilled shiitake mushrooms, was a well-rounded and beautiful salad as well. The Elegant Farmer does not skimp on portions, thankfully, and this one proved to be entrée sized. But woops, we ordered a side of macaroni and cheese just to be safe. I am sure you have discovered by now that my eyes are entirely larger than my stomach.

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My sister's burger, despite its requested plainness, was excellent -- toasted bun and all. The restaurant has managed to master every type of dish from appetizer to meaty entrée to side. No weak links at this East Memphis spot.

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No, Elegant Farmer. Thank you.