Estelle's Southern Cuisine

by Kitty Kaufman
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estellesWe're on for a Saturday night special at Estelle's on Tremont St at the corner of Mass Ave. It's been a year since they took over this corner: Brian Poe, of Poe's Kitchen at the Rattlesnake, Parish Cafe and Tip Tap Room, is working with executive chef Eric Gburski, who logged big time at East Coast Grill. The menu is Southern and in interviews earlier, Poe specifies his cuisine as Gulf Coast-style: barbeque, seafood and grill with hospitality to match. I feel a drawl coming on.

We're greeted by the friendly manager who seats us right away. It's all happening: we've got football, backless bar stools and plenty of bench seating that looks out on one of the busiest corners in Boston's South End. Kim orders Falcon Perch pinot noir, rich with vanilla and yeast. Where the bread could be is a bowl of relish with sweet pickles, carrots and onions that go with soaking up the grape. Here's another stemless wine glass; maybe you're heating it, maybe that's okay. Only the drinker knows and she's not saying. Soda and tea come in Ball Mason jars and water, people, I kinda wish water didn't show up in plastic.

What to order, what to order? Kim's got grilled flank steak with mashed sweet potatoes and garlic spinach. 782 steak sauce is Worcestershire with sweet tomato, chili peppers, ketchup, cider vinegar, raisins, garlic and onion. One of us likes it a lot. The meat's generous with heaping greens and Kim's impressed with the crispy, peppery outside and that it comes out "really medium, not rare and not well done." She is, as you guess, our meat and potatoes specialist. All of it is gone in no time. Buttery sweet potatoes always make us think of Thanksgiving.

The purist opts for Cajun cornmeal catfish with greens and plain rice obligingly subbed for red beans n' rice, thank you. It's fried, has to be, but there's no hint of oil and it's crispy and cooked to the minute. Besides, it wouldn't be Southern without a little catfish. The bright greens go down easy. Our smart server, Tyler, knows what we want before we do.

Estelles 9Estelles 1

Estelle's got all your Southern picks and then some: hushpuppies, dumplings, deviled eggs, hot as hell wings; burgers (beef, turkey, vegan and catfish); Louisiana Po' boys cannily named for Brian; fried chicken, green tomatoes, sausage, meatloaf, brisket, pork chops, jumbalaya, okra, pecan pie, corn bread, fried shrimp and a "Bayou big ol' bowl o' seafood" with everything.

Yes, dessert. One of us says an ice cream cup and one says chocolate pie. Guess who wins? Tyler says the pie crust is vanilla wafers. I think they take everything and ganache it into a banana, chocolate and peanut butter mix. (Remember the Peanut Butter Song? "I like peanut butter, creamy peanut butter, chunky peanut butter, too.") Right, and there's whipped cream and mint. All of it's on my phone, my glasses, my pen and my shirt. Such a sacrifice this is. One of us, the Betty Crocker person, thinks a graham cracker crust would be more fun and the other says wafers win.

Brunch Sundays, lunch every day but Sunday, cocktails and dinner nightly. Beer lovers join the mug club: something about 130 beers in 180 days. I count 86 beers online and that includes a "South End Swill" category. See if yours is on the list - I'm not telling. Doesn't get much better than this.

782 Tremont St (South End)
Boston, MA 02118
857. 250. 2999

© Photos by Kim DeVito. Kitty Kaufman is a Boston writer. See more of their food adventures a Corporate Edge: Let's eat already


#9 kitty 2013-12-12 07:32
Geez, Vince, I hope Amy or Lisa wasn't watching
+1 #8 Vince 2013-12-11 15:07
Mmmmmm, those photos look so good I licked me screen! Thanks, Kitty, tis place is now on my list...
+1 #7 Dot 2013-12-11 11:09
Meatloaf, sweet potatoes, and greens would
be my choice. Dessert would be the banana
peanut butter whip. Doesn't that sound like
a most delicious meal. Certainly better then
yogurt and dry cereal.
+1 #6 The Thin Man 2013-12-10 17:51
I've been away from steak and potato meals for quite a few years. But if I ever make it back to Boston, Estelle's will be on my list of new places to try out.
+2 #5 Steve Anderson 2013-12-10 09:15
I'm definitely going there.
Thanks for the 'heads-up'.
Go Auburn Tigers :-)
+2 #4 Kim DeVito 2013-12-09 19:10
I love this place! I am the meat and potatoes gal....and the meat was PERFECTLY cooked!! I am not a dessert person, thank God, as I have Celiac disease and sadly there are few gluten-free dessert options in many restaurants. This dessert tempted me so much: vanilla wafers are my favorite!!!! I cheated on the gluten-free diet for this. It was well worth it. The banana/peanut butter whip went down so easily and conjured up thoughts of PB and banana sandwiches - yum. Oh, and I recently learned that the manager at my weekend job happens to know the manager of Estelle's QUITE well. It's a small world, especially in Boston.
+2 #3 Roseanna 2013-12-09 17:34
Food looks yummy - will definitely try Estelle's before theatre or symphony.
+1 #2 Kitty 2013-12-09 13:01
Thanks for the kind words and to Kim DeVito for the photos
+2 #1 Gail 2013-12-09 12:42
Sounds like a delicious trip to Louisiana with a just right commute...if you live in Boston.

Looks so satisfying - nice photos.

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