The view above our booth:
The "Elvis Wall" (being from Tennessee, I gots to lub anything "Elvis"...it's the law):
Even the menu paid homage to The King.
Ella's offers a nice selection of cocktails, wine and beer (with most wines by the glass costing $7 or less). Underdog relaxes with a brewski while perusing the menu. Oh, and before I forget, I don't want to neglect to say that we got pleasant, prompt service at Ella's.
First up...a small, beautiful, warm yeast loaf (plenty for two) with some honey butter infused with chives. The bread was perfect and I really liked the flavor combo of the butter.
I had already sized up the menu online and decided that I must have the Fat Japs (jalapenos stuffed with pulled pork, cheddar & cream cheeses, then beer battered and fried served with horseradish cream sauce). I was sorely disappointed by these. For starters, the pulled pork filling was practically nonexistent. I also thought the jalapenos were far too large and too thick for this application (almost like small bell peppers). The coup de grace was an uber-thick crust of greasy breading. I mean, really...they were size of baseballs. All I could taste was the nasty exterior and tough, undercooked jalapeno pepper. I know I was complaining about my food not being carby enough at Cassis last week, but I think the pendulum may have swung too far in the opposite direction, here. Or perhaps some of us are never satisfied.
Dogboy ordered the Latkas (Pan fried Potato Cakes topped with chive sour cream served with granny smith apple & cranberry compote). This starter was also huge and heavy...we honestly could've stopped eating completely after these two mammoth appetizers. The latkas were really tasty, however...fresh, slightly lumpy mashed potato goodness on the inside with a perfect crispy fried exterior. The compote topper seemed unnecessary and didn't do that much for me, but the sour cream was just right!
In spite of already being completely satiated, we plowed ahead. I selected the daily special which was Duck Enchiladas with Blackberry Infused Rice and Fried Plantains. The enchiladas were fine (more like taquitos, though) but nothing mind-blowing...the moist duck meat was mixed with goat cheese and served wrapped in crispy tortillas on a puddle of spicy orange sauce. The rice wasn't as special as it sounded, being both surprisingly bland and delivered to the table cold. Fried plantains were done to caramelized perfection, however.
We were able to justify ordering dessert because so much of our food had been taken away uneaten. I was so tempted to try the King Killers (Banana & Peanut Butter Chimichangas served with Vanilla Ice Cream & Chocolate Syrup. R.I.P. Elvis!) but figured my arteries had already been pushed to their limit at this point and didn't feel like tempting fate. We decided to share the Peach Cobbler (Bourbon Soaked Peaches with Pecan Topping served with Vanilla Ice Cream) and I'm glad we did. It was just about as good as it gets...a perfectly executed Southern classic and only $6! I'll take it from here, honey. :p
Ella's atmosphere is eclectic and interesting, portions are huge and prices reasonable...which may be why the place was full of young families early on a Saturday evening. By the way, is it now cool to let children run amok in restaurants? I was surprised at how freely parents let them roam at Ella's...I thought for a minute I was on the set of "Kids Gone Wild". And, yes, I'm being a crotchety old crone. Vent over.
I'm not sure what I think about Ella's...it kind of left me sitting on the fence. It may be worth a second try, but I won't be chomping at the bit to do it anytime soon. UD, however, has already labeled me a bratty food snob and bookmarked Ella's for future client lunches. Maybe he's right. Post a comment and let me know who you agree with.