“A Spot of Tea” can be found in the shadow of beautiful live oaks at 310 Dauphin Street in Downtown Mobile, AL. I had recently picked up their menu at the Mobile Chamber of Commerce offices and I must say it looked pretty promising. I was especially intrigued by featured items such as Pecan Waffles, Bananas Foster French Toast, Seafood Omelettes, a hard to find Monte Cristo sandwich, and, by many accounts, a world-class Chicken Salad platter.
This is a shot (above) from my inside dining table looking out at the shady open-air patio. It is a really nice setting for a quiet, intimate lunch. I decided to dine inside since it was a rather humid afternoon in Old Mobile. I sat back in anticipation of a stately Southern dining experience. Boy, was I in for a surprise!
The historic building was constructed in 1836. It was once a stable for carriages in the late 1800′s. The present restaurant first opened its doors in 1994 with seating for just 29 guests. It has since expanded to accomodate much larger crowds during the lunch rush.
The plate carrying my lunch was elegant — its contents were decidedly not. For starters, the croissant was obviously not freshly baked. The “Salad from the Garden” was a sorry assortment of end clippings … some of which had started to turn the corner towards “Browntown.” The salad was accompanied by a Parmesan Peppercorn dressing that had a higher viscosity rating than Quaker State. Just stunningly thick and goopy, which was not exactly what I was seeking on such a hot, sticky summer day.
Calvert’s “gourmet” Chicken salad was pretty awful. This totally surprised me since it was said to be one of the stars of the menu. The pecan-laced chicken was overly salty and, frankly, just dripping with mayo.
The iced tea was good, but that could hardly justify a $13 (including tip) lunch. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. Let’s just say I was totally unprepared for how bad this meal turned out to be. I may give them another chance at some point, but I’ll need some time to clear my head (and palate) of this terrible first impression. My server was wonderful — so there, I’ve said something nice. Always try to end things on a positive note!