One Meal in Knoxville, TN
I'll be stopping over in Knoxville later this month for several hours and will probably only have time for one good meal. I'd like to make it a memorable one. Any ideas on great places that aren't super pricey? I'm not looking for a fancy meal, just a really delicious one. Thanks.
I was first thinking of ribs and BBQ since that's a local thing, but looking around CH it seems that the place to go is Hong Kong House?
It depends on what would be special for you.
If you don't know Southern Food (and can capitalize it without worrying), I'd recommend Puleo's. The one at Strawberry Plains Pike exit off of I-40 east of town (4 miles) is the original.
There you should start with their Fried Green Tomatoes appetizer. Done right, they are served over cheese grits with two gravies: a white sausage gravy and a cajun inspired red gravy.
I'm not sure you shouldn't have that as your entree as well, but instead their fried catfish are favorites of ours with their slaw and another veg, and then their mocha cake for desert.
(They do serve alcoholic beverages, but the S in southern would strongly suggest sweet tea as the drink of choice.)
HKH has dozens of dishes that are not fried. It would be very easy to eat there for days and avoid fried foods entirely, while still sampling great Sichuan and other dishes.
But then, why do that anyway??? Nothing wrong with a few fried dishes mixed in there. Besides, "good ole southern soul food" is hardly innocent of grease.
I have not been ot Hong Kong House but have to ask if anyone is concerned that it consistenly scores way below a passing grade on their health department inspections? I would say that if you are in Knoxville for lunch, you might go to Wright's Cafeteria on Middlebrook Pike. This would give you a moment back in time (say around 1955) when you got home made banana pudding and real fried chicken and deviled eggs and sweet tea.
I've only been to Knoxville once, and when I was there I ate at Hong Kong House. In my opinion it is a culinary experience not to be missed. Order a variety of dishes--more than you can eat--so you can have a lot of tastes. Be adventurous. BBQ is humdrum compared to what this place can offer.
Hong Kong House is the best meal I've ever had in Knoxville, hands down. It's not impressive from the outside or even on the inside, but the food is absolutely amazing. The only possibility I can see for the health department score is the fact that only the front-of-house staff speak English. There might be some translation difficulties in the kitchen. The food is fabulous regardless.