BF and I dined at Tupelo in Central Square last night and the meal was good overall without having any real 'wow' points. The space is small, with perhaps 14 tables not including the bar, and decorations are sparse. The water glasses are the giant Ball canning jars, and the restaurant was busy without being overly loud. We started with an order of fried cheddar grits and two glasses of the mulled red wine, neither of which we had consumed before. The grits were a nice texture but overly salty--they would have been better with more chopped scallions on top. As for the mulled wine, I felt like you tasted the alcohol as you breathed in before actually sipping the drink. We both tried to like it, but in the end neither one of us finished our glass, as the wine tasted cheap and not as spicy/herbal as we had hoped. They also brought out two pieces of cornbread before our meals with an ENORMOUS pat of butter on the side. The bread was tasty without being greasy and is probably the best cornbread I've had around Boston.
For main courses, I got the roasted half chicken and my BF got the beef brisket. The food came out quickly and both dishes were hot. My chicken had a BBQ spice rub on it and was served over wilted collard greens and a black eyed pea mixture that had a real kick to it. The chicken was quite moist with a lovely smoked flavor, and the greens were served with a creamy sauce that contrasted nicely with the slight crisp. The black eyed peas seemed more al dente than I am used to for beans, and they were a bit heavy on the cayenne pepper, too. BF's brisket was very tender, but was a fattier piece of beef than either one of us prefers. The BBQ sauce on the brisket had a brown sugar or molasses edge to it that we both liked, although his red beans suffered from the same undercooked status as my black eyed peas. We chose to pass on dessert as we were both pretty full, but I would have liked to try the brown sugar and pecan pie. Overall, the food was good without being amazing, but we had great service the whole time and enjoyed the vibe of the restaurant. One thing of note is that we both thought the food was a touch over-priced: $17 for my half chicken plate and $18 for his brisket, which given the quality of the food and the setting we were in, seemed about $3 too high per plate. I still prefer blue ribbon BBQ for my southern fix (although the recent posts questioning if the quality has gone downhill are concerning), but I think Tupelo is an OK choice for a casual dinner near Central Square.