It’s been said that Tennessee is 3 distinct states geographically. The state is long and narrow, 900 miles across. It covers a lot of different terrain. East Tennessee, once a part of the Carolinas, is home to the Smoky Mountains, deeply primal forests, waterfalls, snow in winter, the Appalachian Trail. Middle Tennesse evolves into rolling hills, rivers and lakes. West Tennessee is flat open farm land. It is here in west Tennessee that you’ll find Reelfoot Lake, the nesting place of eagles and the home of crappie and catfish (that’s pronounced croppy to you not familiar with the fish.) Reelfoot Lake formed in the 1800s when the Mississippi River “ran backwards” during an earthquake. I’ve moved from one fault line, the San Andreas to another, the New Madrid. This fault line has seen very little activity since the 1800s. I don’t think we’re still waiting for the big one like everyone in California. Here it’s mostly tornadoes that we have to be concerned about.
A lot of activity has grown up around Reelfoot. As with any beautiful body of water, there’s fishing and boating and camping and….eating. A while back we drove out to dinner at the Blue Bank Fish House. We had a great view of the lake from our table. The staff was friendly and accommodating. I’m rediscovering just how friendly Tennesseans are. Californians are friendly but Tennesseans ENGAGE you. I don’t go out unless I’m ready to talk to someone.
Even so, I had a hard time following what our server was saying because the smell of warm yeast rolls she brought to the table was so enticing. I had to ask her twice about some of their offerings as I stared at the warm buttery rolls.
The menu has a strong Cajun influence. Why? I asked and you may wonder. The chef likes Cajun food we were told. I ordered the Redfish New Orleans and Randy the Chicken Bang Bang. MYinner came with a side salad, a mix with shredded carrots and red cabbage. The tomato “medley” was grape tomatoes. The ‘house made” ranch dressing was, I’m pretty sure, Hidden Valley. Randy’s gumbo was delicious, just enough spice, great flavors.

Gumbo at the Blue Bank Fish House

My redfish was really delicious. The creamy Cajun sauce added a nice bite. The crawfish were crispy and a little sweet, a nice flavor foil to the spice of the sauce. I was disappointed in my pale, overcooked green beans, would have loved some fresh picked bright green beans still with some snap but the cheddar grits made up for it. I was impressed. They had some real tooth to them, rare I’ve found.
The wine looked much more interesting by the bottle but we stuck to the Corbett Canyon, the cab for Randy and the pinot grigio for me. With the rich sauces and large portions , we decided to forego dessert. They were nice enough to bring us a taste of the Oreo Mousse. I’m sorry guys but whipped cream with oreos is not a real dessert.
All in all, we will go back. We were there right before they closed for the season.

Sunset at Reelfoot Lake by Teresa Sharp

Now it’s spring and I see from their website that the crappies are really biting! Time to try out other items on their menu when things are booming. I will, however, go slower through Hornbeak. On our way home I got stopped going 44 in a 30 mile zone. I’m always afraid I’ll look like a real city slicker if I don’t make those curves at least at 40. I said to the officer, “I’m always afraid I’m going too slow.”
“M’am, you can’t go too slow along these roads.”

Point taken.