Talus serves what they call New American Cuisine in the beautiful backdrop of Lookout Mountain, Tennessee.
I’m sort of running out of places to blog about in Chattanooga. Okay, not really…I have a pretty long list of places that I still need to visit. A lot of the places I need to visit, though, are on the outskirts of Chattanooga. I’m trying to spend more time around Chattanooga and less time downtown, particularly since I really kind of am running out of places downtown, at least places that are open on the weekends.
I haven’t been anywhere on Lookout Mountain up to this point. There aren’t a ton of places to visit up there but Café on the Corner (which recently reopened after a 2014 fire shut it down for a while) and Talus have been on my list for quite a while. We decided to head up, unsure of which one we were going to choose. Turns out they are just a few doors away from each other, so our decision was made by the fact that we parked directly across the street from Talus (parking is on the street or in a few spaces lining the front of the plaza that it’s in).
When we walked in we were quickly seated. There are two dining areas, a quieter and more subdued area with lots of art on the wall and slightly louder area with more modern music (as in they were playing nineties music) and a pool table. We decided to sit in the quieter area. The restaurant is very nicely decorated, with hardwood floors and dark wood tables. We were seated at a high top table.
Our server, Caroline, got to us quickly and took our drink order. We asked her opinion on appetizers, as we were stuck between pimento cheese hushpuppies (served with green chile jam) and fried green tomatoes (served with herbed goat cheese and bacon aioli). She recommended the hush puppies, so we decided to go with those (they also have a crab cake, a chip and dip trio, and seared ahi tuna). The hush puppies came out, hot, gigantic, and with just a little bit of cheese oozing from the top. They were very tasty and the green chile jam sweet but spicy enough to make me cough a little bit a few times.
The menu is divided into appetizers, salads, craft tacos (shrimp or fish), highbrow burgers, hand-held (aka sandwiches), and entrees (which are only served after 5:00 p.m.). I contemplated whether to order the bleu and black burger (cajun spiced with bacon, bacon, aged balsamic onions, and blue cheese spread on a potato bun), the Talus blue bacon cheesesteak with char-roasted beef, applewood smoked bacon, steakhouse dressing, caramelized onions, and house-blended cheeses on a toasted French baguette, or the craft fish tacos, with ale-battered market fish, shredded cabbage, salsa fresca, avocado slices, and Mexican crema. Ultimately I decided on the fish tacos with onion rings as my side (I know, I know, onion rings don’t really go with fish tacos, but I wanted to try them). I am fairly certain that the market fish was cod, and it was absolutely delicious-perfectly cooked in a light, crispy, and well-seasoned batter. There was a perfect amount of toppings (salsa, cumin-spiced crema, and avocado – though I could have taken a little more avocado) on a flour tortilla. I would have preferred corn tortillas, but it was definitely not a deal breaker. The onion rings were good, not great…not anything special.
Philip decided on the double bacon Lucy burger. Do you know what a jucy Lucy (not, jucy is not a misspelling, that’s just how it’s spelled for some reason) burger is? It’s a burger with cheese stuffed into the center of it as opposed to being melted on top. The double bacon Lucy had pimento cheese stuffed into it, and it was topped with bacon, lettuce, tomato, and red onion on a potato bun. Philip decided to order it without lettuce and probably should have foregone the tomato and onion, as it was definitely not easy to take a bite from. However, the meat was seared perfectly, the pimento cheese was melty and flavorful, and the bacon added a perfect salty & smoky hit to finish. Philip decided on fries as his side. The fries were definitely house-cut, cooked until just crisp and well-seasoned.
I can’t say that this was an inexpensive meal – for the hush puppies ($5.95), fish tacos ($12.95), double bacon Lucy ($9.95), and a draught beer that Philip ordered (around $6), our pre-tip total was $37.52. However, those prices are pretty much par for the course for restaurants similar to Talus, and the food was fresh and tasty so we were not put off by the price. Additionally, our server was very friendly and helpful (even when Philip sent her on a wild goose chase to figure out what variety of Bell’s beer they had on tap) and you can’t argue with the scenery when you are driving up and down Lookout Mountain (or just driving around and looking at the houses!). We will definitely make a visit back to Talus!
Talus is located at 812 Scenic Highway, Lookout Mountain, Tennessee 37409. They are open Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. You can call them at (423) 602-5604. They do not currently have a website, but you can like Talus on Facebook.