Rizzo’s by Michael Patrick – 5/28/21

I have been a fan of Micheal Patrick’s cooking for a long time. I lived downtown for years and followed him around to various restaurants before he opened his own place. I can honestly say I’ve never had anything from a kitchen he’s running that wasn’t, at the very least, really really good.

So when my birthday rolled around and I wanted to go somewhere a little special, the choice was easy, I’m going to Rizzo’s.

This picture of us before we left is mostly unrelated, but I just like showing people how totally insane my child is from time to time.

I made a reservation at Rizzo’s and we made the long trek from Bartlett to South Main.

We were immediately seated, and I decided to start off with a cocktail, it is my birthday after all. I got a Memphis Mule. That’s Old Dominic vodka, mango mint syrup, and ginger beer served in a copper mug.

I had no idea how badly I needed this in my life. This is like the perfect summer cocktail. Minty and fresh with a little background sweetness and tartness from the mango. Also the cup looks super cool.

We decided to get an appetizer, and opted for the Goat Grit and Grind Ball. That was a mistake. A delicious mistake, but a mistake. This thing is huge. In my head, I was thinking like 3-4 golfball sized balls of grits with goat cheese in the center. What came out was like the size of a small boulder or a large grapefruit. Way too much food for two people. Of course we ate basically all of it, but I think it’s more sized for four, lol.

Ava really liked the grit and grind ball, like a lot. I think she could have tackled one by herself. That’s honestly the only way we got most of the way through it.

For the mains, Daisy went with the chicken pot pie. It’s kinda deconstructed, with the “crust” being a puff pastry. It’s super good, I’ve had it a few times before. It has seasoned chicken, andouille sausage, and mixed veggies “inside” with a delicious sauce.

Ava was going to just eat some of Daisy’s chicken pot pie, but chef came by the table and mentioned he had some chicken breast and could do some chicken tenders if she wanted. She said she would like chicken tenders so little miss VIP got to order off-menu. The breading was cornmeal like you would typically see for catfish and the honey mustard was awesome, I’m guessing it’s their house made dressing.

I totally snagged a bite of a chicken tender, they were super good. Ava definitely approved.

As for me, I did the special, because, Pro tip here, you should always get the special at a restaurant like this. I’ve gotten the special at Rizzo’s almost every time I’ve gone, and I’ve never been disappointed. Even if it’s something you don’t typically like, you should get it anyway, because restaurants that are this good totally transform the ingredients into something magical.

The special was pan seared swordfish, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, and green beans. The fish had a Tasso ham sauce.

This was probably the best swordfish I’ve ever had, and I spent a lot of time in California where finding good seafood is like finding good BBQ here in Memphis.

The sauce was creamy and salty, a perfect balance against the fish. The garlic mashed potatoes are probably the best in Memphis. I don’t even want to know how much butter and cream is in there, because I want to keep ordering them.

As always, we had a great experience at Rizzo’s. If you’re in the neighborhood, or even if you’re not. You should go eat there. If you order a Memphis Mule and get the special, you’re gonna leave happy, no matter what the special is that day. Actually just order anything, everything is good.