Eating Out: Circa Food & Wine

Last Saturday, Tony and I had a late dinner at John Bragg’s new Circa, located in East Memphis in the Regalia Shopping Center. The simple summary? We were impressed.

Our neighbor had visited the week before and was oft-put somewhat by the restaurant’s design. “It’s a little too dark for me,“ she said, “but I loved my tuna.”

Yes, the lights are low at Circa (which is why these photos are so pathetic), but we found the restaurant to be quite chic. Designer Amy Howard is well-know for her lovely finishes, and at Circa, she uses a monochromatic wash of grays and metallic tones for a sophisticated, but comfortable feel.

We started our meal with proscuitto wrapped asparagus served with creamy Gorgonzola ($12) and roasted sea scallops in a fricassee of vegetables and pistou broth. Pistou, which means “pounded,” can be made in any number of ways, but it’s hard to imagine a better take on the Provencal classic than Bragg’s: a warm and flavorful stew made with cannelloni beans, roasted vegetables (fennel, carrots, tomatoes) and a sprinkle of pine nuts that was so satisfying the scallops were like a surprise party guest: welcomed but unnecessary.

For our entrees, we ordered quail stuffed with polenta, chorizo, golden raisins, and toasted almonds ($27) and charred cowboy ribeye with peppercorn crust ($32). Yes, we had dessert, and then we were back later in the week for lunch because this blog post is a prelude to a full review of Circa to be published in the June issue of Memphis magazine.

In the meantime, don’t wait to give Circa a try. You won’t be disappointed in the restaurant’s ambiance, food, or service. Lunch, served Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., is more affordable than dinner, with entrée salads and main courses ranging in price from $9 to $12. Whether you visit for lunch of dinner, note this: For now, the new menus for Circa have not been updated on its website.
Circa, 6150 Poplar, Suite 122 (746-9130)


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