Andy's Rest. Scorecard: Chef John Bragg, plus scores as of 2/07/10

By Andy Wise - bio | email

THIS WEEK'S BIG TIP:  Chef John Bragg, Circa, 119 S. Main, Suite 100, Downtown Memphis, 901-522-1488,

He's a Memphis boy, born and raised (shout out to Christian Brothers High School!), who cultivated his culinary skills aboard cruise ships and around the kitchens of Europe.

It all translates to award-winning interior design and the Memphis Flyer's Readers' Choice award for Best Restaurant and Best Chef:  Circa by John Bragg.

"This place has been one of the most consistent good times, good food, good atmosphere places that I have ever been in my life," said Duke Walker of Uptown Memphis. He keeps a barstool warm around Bragg's state-of-the-art bar with one of the best wine and liquor selections downtown.

Everything about Bragg's place is original -- incredibly creative dishes with comfortable tastes.

"We want it to be creative. We want it to be fun. But we also wanted to have flavors and textures that people know and are familiar with and like," said Bragg.

With a reputation as a "participant chef" who likes to mingle with his guests, Bragg is known to hold theme parties for guests and tip back a few with his customers after hours.

"John has never ceased to stop giving to that relationship," Walker said. "We've had so much fun. He's just always a barrel of laughs.

"Every time I come in, the staff, the food, the wine, everything is just perfect."

WHAT ANDY LIKES:  Crawfish Beignets, Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna W/Wasabi Mashed Potatoes, Elk Tenderloin

To read the rest of this week's scores, click here.

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