Cypress is one of my husband's favorite restaurants in town. Mostly because of a dish called the Low Country Boil, which he affectionately calls the Down Under Thunder (don't ask, I won't tell). I have to admit, I cannot share the same sentiment. Now, before you kill me, try to understand me.
Posted by Tally Foodie Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I am not a southern girl. I was not raised on things like grits and okra and crawfish. I'm from the midwest. I'm a steak and potatoes kinda girl (which, is exactly what I ordered at Cypress this night, but I digress). And southern food hasn't grown on me much in the past year and a half that I've lived in Tallahassee. I can't stand boiled peanuts. I won't touch collard greens. And I still don't like grits. Even with lots of cheese and butter. No, thank you very much. I'll stick to my mashed potatoes.
Now, Cypress is all about southern cuisine with a fancy twist. They take regional favorites and update them with creative preparations. For me, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But I go there because I love my husband and he loves the Down Und....I mean, the Low Country Boil.
The restaurant itself is a casual, yet contemporary place. With walls painted red, purple, sage and yellow and paintings featuring palm trees and mossy oaks, it's a cross section of southern hospitality and upscale chic.
We ordered a few drinks to start, my husband selected a beer and I picked the Watermelon Margarita Martini. It's a refreshingly sweet little drink made with real watermelon that reminded me of those summer days of my youth when I'd sit out on the back porch eating fresh watermelon and spitting the seeds into the yard. I must warn you, however, that it is definitely on the sweeter side, so if you don't like your alcohol very sugary, you might want to stay away from this one. But I thought it was delightful.
Next, I convinced my husband to order the Sesame Tuna appetizer. I'm not quite sure why, but I've been on a bit of a seared tuna kick lately. A year ago, I couldn't stand it. Now, I crave it. Such is the circle of life. Anyway, I was super excited about this appetizer and was practically foaming at the mouth when they set it down on our table. The presentation was absolutely spectacular, it looked like a real work of art! As I picked one up and took my first bite, my enthusiasm quickly waned. The tuna was so fatty, that I couldn't even bite the darn thing. So here I am at this nice, gourmet restaurant with half a tuna slice hanging out of my mouth and me trying to rip it off with my fingers. It was not a pleasant scene. Meanwhile, my (slightly more civilized) husband was trying to cut his with a knife and also having no luck. It was the most unappetizing appetizer I've ever had in my life. I eventually put the whole thing in my mouth, but chewing it could not dissect the fat either. On top of that, the tuna was not fresh, and the salsa and sprouts they put on top of the tuna did nothing to give the dish any flavor. I was so thoroughly disgusted that I couldn't even eat another one.
Thank goodness our main entrees made up for the appetizer. Okay, so you already know my husband loves his Low Country Boil. It's a hodge podge of shrimp, scallops, sausage, corn, potatoes, onions and okra in what my husband calls "a very flavorful broth" (sorry ladies and gentlemen, he's a man of few words). I myself, am not one for the hodge podge type meals. I don't do crock pot cooking, or pot pies or pot roast or any of that jazz because to me everything ends up tasting like potatoes. And don't get me wrong, I like potatoes, but I don't want my shrimp to taste like potatoes too. But if hubby had his way, he'd drink the broth when he was through.
I ordered the Filet Mignon which was encrusted with seasonings and topped with sauteed mushrooms and some caramelized onions (that I promptly picked off). It was also served with mashed potatoes and asparagus. The filet was delicious, I ordered it cooked medium and it practically melted in my mouth. It was served with the house steak sauce (that brown stuff you see under the potatoes), which was spicy, smoky and sweet and the perfect compliment for pretty much everything on the plate. The asparagus were crispy and perfectly seasoned. And the mashed potatoes were smooth and buttery. If I had one beef (no pun intended) with my meal, it would be that I could have done without the scallions in my mashed potatoes. I'm not sure what compels people to put corn, onions or anything else in their mashed potatoes, but I like mine perfectly plain. Cause where I come from, if it ain't broke, don't add extra shit to it.
This is pretty typical of my other Cypress experiences. Sometimes I order something I end up loving, sometimes I order something I end up hating. It's always a coin toss. But when you love someone, you sometimes do things you wouldn't ordinarily do. Ain't love grand?
Tally Foodie Rating:
Atmosphere - A
Taste - B
Presentation - A
Service - A
Price - $$$
320 E Tennessee St.
Tallahassee FL 32301