Nashville Restaurants

Party Fowl: Photo by Michael W. Bunch

Party Fowl: Photo by Michael W. Bunch

Nashville Scene, November 13, 2014
Another Feather in Their Cap
360 Bistro team brings polish to the pecking order at chicken-centric Party Fowl

If I had to choose one image to represent the spirit of life in modern Music City, it just might be the placard at the corner of Eighth and Division, announcing valet parking for the hot chicken restaurant. It’s not only the endearing incongruity of high-touch hospitality and lowbrow fare that captures the flavor of the New Nashville — it’s the fact that people are flocking to the corner of Eighth and Division to dine….The full story

Utterly: Photo by Michael W. Bunch

Utterly: Photo by Michael W. Bunch

Nashville Scene, October 23, 2014
Yes. Oui. Cannelés!
With Utterly, chef Mayme Gretsch finds a sweet spot in the niche of extravagant desserts

If you notice a certain urgency among the Friday morning traffic at Crema coffee shop, that’s probably because it’s the season for cannelés de Bordeaux, and the caramel-skinned custard-textured cakes are in short supply. In fact, this Friday, when chef Mayme Gretsch, owner of Utterly, makes her weekly delivery, there are likely to be just a dozen of the shiny bronze rings. And if previous weeks are any indicator, the cannelés will be gone by 9 o’clock…. The full story

The Cookery: Photo by Michael W. Bunch

The Cookery: Photo by Michael W. Bunch

Nashville Scene, October 2, 2014
Chicken Salad for the Soul
At The Cookery restaurant and culinary program, Brett Swayn nourishes homeless men through social enterprise

In an era when dining has become a pastime and restaurants compete on a vast matrix of ingenuity, sustainability, personality and decor, a cornerstone component of cuisine is often overlooked: Nourishment. You can read that word literally. After all, the bacon-wrapped-whiskey-infused-pork-belly culinary zeitgeist doesn’t exactly bow to recommended nutritional daily allowances of fiber, sodium, riboflavin and such. Or you can read it metaphorically, with nourishment being about bringing people to the table to replenish and restore them. If you’re Brett Swayn at The Cookery restaurant and culinary training program for the homeless, it all runs together. “It’s a parable,” he says, referring to his own journey from homelessness to food- and faith-based social enterprise. His restaurant near the corner of 12th Avenue South and Wedgewood serves customers a fresh and well-executed menu of pancakes, biscuits, salads, sandwiches, wraps and pastries, while serving indigent men by housing, feeding, clothing, teaching and employing them…. The full story

Sinema: Photo by Eric England

Sinema: Photo by Eric England

Nashville Scene, August 28, 2014
Let’s All Go to the Lobby
Sinema in Melrose debuts with marquee chef Dale Levitski and a dazzling setting

If you ask me, the best part of Annie, the 1982 film version of the Broadway musical, is the number “Let’s Go to the Movies.” I love it when Daddy Warbucks buys every seat in the theater and gives his glamour-deprived charge her first big night on the town. The stage, the lights, the grandeur — Annie wears a dress, Daddy Warbucks a bowtie. That song wasn’t even part of the original Broadway production, and yet it pops into my head every time I log onto RegalCinemas.com. It came flooding back on two recent trips to Sinema, the culinary blockbuster headlined by former Top Chef contestant Dale Levitski in the erstwhile Melrose Cinema. From the valet drop-off at the vintage marquee to the grand staircase rising from lobby to mezzanine, a night at Sinema is an opulent affair, positively baroque in its see-and-be-seen splendor. It’s hard to think of a local venue that places such a premium on its decor, which includes countless groupings of plush furniture, black-and-white portraits of Hollywood stars, and a constellation of elegant low lighting reflected off smoky gold mirror ceiling tiles…. The full story

Tango Grill: Photo by Michael W. Bunch

Tango Grill: Photo by Michael W. Bunch

Nashville Scene, August 14, 2014
Yo La Tango
At Tango Grill, Nola’s owner Alexia Humphrey returns, along with her storied sandwich

People who read books about parenting might attribute the character of my youngest child to the effect of birth order. Third children, the books say, can be stubborn. I don’t read books on parenting — at least not since I heard myself tell my kids I couldn’t play Candyland until I finished the chapter on “Making Time for Toddlers.” But even if I did, I’d still attribute my youngest’s goat-headed nature to my diet during his gestation. When I was pregnant with No. 3, I ate mostly steak sandwiches topped with bacon and fried eggs and drizzled with chimichurri. (If you’re wondering, I threw away my pre-pregnancy jeans. You don’t bounce back from a nine-month bender like that.)… The full story

Bella Nashville Bakery: Photo by Eric England

Bella Nashville Bakery: Photo by Eric England

Nashville Scene, July 17, 2014
It’s no wonder
A simple sandwich shows just how much Nashville’s tastes are growing up

recent lunch at the counter of Bella Nashville Bakery in the Shops on Fatherland sparked an unlikely memory from my youth. Like many children in the ’70s, I was subjected to an aptitude test disguised as a “fun activity book,” to help identify highly talented students. Among the brainteasers and word problems designed to sort out the Baby Einsteins from the garden-variety first-graders, one deceptively simple riddle stuck with me: “How do you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?” Easy, I thought. I got this. I saw where this question was headed, and I was going to deliver an answer so granular as to guarantee my spot in the CIA’s elementary-school recruiting process, or whatever prize lay at the right-hand tail of this particular bell-shaped curve. “Open the jar of peanut butter,” I said smugly. “Try again,” the interrogator coaxed…. The full story

Noelle: Photo by Michael W. Bunch

Noelle: Photo by Michael W. Bunch

Nashville Scene, July 3, 2014
Noelle, Noelle
Reinvented and renamed, Whitfield’s successor deserves to be reconsidered

In too many places across the country, a combination of poverty, poor transportation and scarcity of fresh foods stands between neighborhoods and nourishment. Such so-called food deserts are a real and pervasive problem, with dire nutritional consequences such as obesity and diabetes. It City Nashville is not immune to such problems of food security, with intermittent food deserts dotted across urban and suburban districts. Edgehill, for example, has long been considered a food desert. More recent additions to the list of local food deserts include North Antioch and Madison. Belle Meade — with a median family income approaching $200,000 and a proliferation of luxury automobiles — is decidedly not a food desert. Yet with the possible exception of “Why is there no great Chinese food here?” no question comes over a Nashville food writer’s transom more frequently than this pitiful query: “Why is there nothing to eat in Belle Meade?”… The full story

Red Bicycle: Photo by Michael W. Bunch

Red Bicycle: Photo by Michael W. Bunch

Nashville Scene, May 22, 2014
Bicycle Built by Two
At Germantown crêperie Red Bicycle, local color is even stronger than the French connection

Between City House’s pizzas, Lazzaroli’s ravioli and Rolf and Daughters’ garganelli, there’s a case to be made that Germantown is becoming Nashville’s Little Italy. Then again, between the crêpes at Red Bicycle and the pain au chocolat at Flour Sugar Eggs across the street, you could argue that Germantown is becoming Nashville’s Little France. Either way, many aspects of the district north of Bicentennial Mall evoke longing for the European way of doing things — from bike-share systems and al fresco dining to artisanal food and culinary boutiques. Such was our Europhilic sentiment on a recent afternoon, when we perched at a tiny patio table at Red Bicycle coffee shop and crêperie and watched springtime unfold in a parade of diners and dog walkers celebrating sunshine on the brick-lined sidewalks…. The full story

The Catbird Seat: Photo by Michael W. Bunch

The Catbird Seat: Photo by Michael W. Bunch

Nashville Scene, May 1, 2014
The Bird Is (Still) the Word
Does the new Catbird Seat meet the bar set by the former chefs?

In the two-and-a-half years since it opened, The Catbird Seat has won as much acclaim as any restaurant in the city. Serving a multi-course dinner at a bar wrapped around an open kitchen, its cooks are performers, preparing a dizzying three-hour menu in front of diners. The results have often been spectacular and garnered a James Beard semifinalist nomination for Best New Restaurant in 2012, as well as Best New Chef nods from Food & Wine for chefs Erik Anderson and Josh Habiger. After the opening chefs moved on (Anderson to Minneapolis; Habiger to Pinewood Social, another Strategic Hospitality restaurant), Trevor Moran was brought in from Noma in Copenhagen, just named (again) this week the best restaurant in the world by Restaurant magazine. Moran has begun to put his own stamp on the menu, bringing his ingredient-driven approach from Denmark and applying it in fascinating, Nashville-centric ways. The results are both delicious and challenging. Below, Scene food writers Steve Cavendish and Carrington Fox discuss their experience, how the new incarnation compares to the one that dazzled patrons upon opening — and yes, whether the meal is worth the money…. The full story

Chateau West: Photo by Eric England

Chateau West: Photo by Eric England

Nashville Scene, April 17, 2014
Mom Knows West
Chateau West offers French dining just as your parents might remember it

You know who I bet really likes Chateau West? Your mother. I don’t know your mother, but here’s what I do know: The vast majority of Scene readers are between ages 25 and 54, while the vast majority of babies in the U.S. are born to women between ages 20 and 34. Those statistics lead us to the strong probability that your mom is somewhere between 45 and 88 years old. Now let’s assume Mom experienced her first true fancy-pants restaurant meal when she was, say, 10 years old — in other words, at least 35 years ago. We’re talking pre-1980. Back then, fancy food was practically synonymous with French cuisine. Remember back when we used the word gourmet? Remember Julian’s on West End Avenue? All that is to say your mom — if she’s lucky — has a tender nostalgia for la cuisine française, for a menu dotted with accents, and for plates ladled with stocks and sauces. Which leads us to the conclusion that your maternal unit will enjoy a certain remembrance of things past upon entering Chateau West’s lovely dining room, with its soaring beamed ceilings, white tablecloths, Cole Porter soundtrack, and tall vases of fresh flowers….. The full story

Batch: Photo by Michael W. Bunch

Batch: Photo by Michael W. Bunch

Nashville Scene, April 3, 2014
Up at Batch
Locally focused subscription gift service delivers a taste of Nashville

Let’s start with some word-association. I’ll say “Nashville specialty food” and you say … Did you say Goo Goo Cluster? Of course you did, because for more than a century, the chocolate-coated, peanut-topped marshmallow-and-caramel disk has been virtually synonymous with local product in Music City. You probably stuffed them in bridal party welcome baskets and smuggled them onto airplanes. For variety, maybe you packaged them with King Leo peppermints and washed them down with Tennessee whiskey. But the current appetite for all things Nashville can’t be satisfied with sweets and sour mash alone. Everyone wants a taste — culinary and otherwise. Batch wants to oblige…. The full story

Epice: Photo by Michael W. Bunch

Epice: Photo by Michael W. Bunch

Nashville Scene, March 20, 2014
Epice of My Heart
At Epice, Kalamatas co-owner Maher Fawaz brings a taste of Lebanon — no, not Leb’nun — to 12South

People are calling Epice, the sleek Lebanese bistro in 12South, the antidote to local-food overdose. Maher Fawaz calls it his vision of a street scene in Europe or the Middle East. Fawaz would know. He lived in both places before settling in Nashville 30 years ago and launching the beloved Kalamatas restaurants in Green Hills, Brentwood and Belmont. If you look through Epice’s dining room just right — squint your eyes and think worldly thoughts — the chic shotgun of concrete, stacked stone and white marble can sort of remind you of an outdoor cafe on a side street in, say, Beirut or Grenoble, both former homes of Fawaz. When the sliding glass doors open onto a tailored front patio this spring, the illusion promises to be even more convincing…. The full story

Gray's on Main: Photo by Michael W. Bunch

Gray’s on Main: Photo by Michael W. Bunch

Nashville Scene, February 27, 2014
Gray’s Gastronomy
In an old Franklin pharmacy, Gray’s culinary-cocktail formula is both modern and nostalgic

Remember last year when the The New York Times accused Nashvillians of breaking into “a goofy grin” whenever the subject of our newfound popularity comes up? We admit to being guilty as charged. But we’re not the first folks in the region to enjoy a smug bout of hometown pride. I’m talking specifically about Franklin. Maybe it’s their wide front porches and quaint town square. Or their chic boutiques selling slipcovers and scented candles. Or maybe I’ve just got an out-of-towner’s chip on my shoulder. But it seems like a lot of folks in Franklin wear a subtle smile that asks, “Don’t you wish you lived here, honey?” At least that’s how it looked to me on two recent visits to the bustling dining rooms of Gray’s on Main, the three-story restaurant and music venue that opened last summer. One thing’s for sure: Locals have a lot to be happy about when it comes to Joni and Michael Cole’s ambitious and attractive reinvented Main Street landmark. … The full story

Josephine: Photo by Michael W. Bunch

Josephine: Photo by Michael W. Bunch

Nashville Scene, February 13, 2014
Not the Average Jo
At Josephine, Burger Up owner Miranda Whitcomb Pontes takes 12South dining up another notch

People are talking a lot about Josephine, Miranda Whitcomb Pontes’ long-awaited and lovely follow-up to her blockbuster Burger Up on 12th Avenue South. They’re saying it’s French. No, they’re saying it’s German. Or it’s farm-to-table. And it’s not what they expected. Because it’s too much like Burger Up. Or it’s not enough like Burger Up. People have a lot of opinions (most good, some less so) about Josephine on 12th. I have my own (mostly very favorable) opinions about the newest culinary landmark on Gentrification Avenue. But before we get to those, I have a few thoughts about what all these opinions say about Nashville as a dining community. … The full story

The Treehouse: Photo by Michael W. Bunch

The Treehouse: Photo by Michael W. Bunch

Nashville Scene, January 30, 2014
Branching Out
At The Treehouse in Five Points, Latin-influenced family-style dining reaches lofty heights

The Treehouse only takes reservations for parties of four or more. Even so, when we called several days in advance, we practically had to beg the receptionist to shoehorn our quartet into her book on a crowded Thursday night. And while we were grateful to get seats in what just might be Nashville’s most low-profile and high-energy neighborhood eatery, we weren’t thrilled to learn that our foursome would have to share a six-top with another couple. That kind of intimacy can make for an awkward evening when your mission is to opine on every bite. (Haven’t we all been taught not to criticize something that someone else might be enjoying?) So we were beyond fortunate that the random couple seated with us was none other than Scene reporter Steven Hale and his lovely wife. Lucky, not only because Mr. and Mrs. @iamstevenhale understand the indelicate realities of reviewing a restaurant, but also because we needed more stomachs to share in the bounty of Treehouse’s dazzling menu. … The full story

Boca Loca: Photo by Eric England

Boca Loca: Photo by Eric England

Nashville Scene, January 16, 2014
Mouth of the Border
At Boca Loca, the latest change to a Hillsboro Village landmark brings fresh Mexican flavors

If you live in a city long enough, you just might see it change into something completely different at the same time it reverts to exactly what you remember. That was the case on a recent Saturday evening when I found myself seated in a back dining room of Boca Loca, the cheerful Mexico-inspired eatery that occupies the former address of The Trace. But as my group pulled up chairs to a table of freshly made chips and salsa — and a round of pineapple-garnished mojitos and margaritas swirling with fresh citrus, mint, peppers and cucumbers — it wasn’t The Trace I was remembering. Nor was it Bombasha, the churrascaria tenant that vacated before Boca Loca arrived. What came to mind was Faison’s, the pioneering restaurant that was nearly synonymous with independent dining when I was growing up in Nashville. … The full story

Kitchen Notes: Photo By Michael W. Bunch

Kitchen Notes: Photo By Michael W. Bunch

Nashville Scene, January 2, 2014
The Omnivore’s Dilemma
The opulent Omni hotel brings dining choices for tourists and locals alike

In this column and on the Scene food blog, Bites, we often talk about the emergence of dining districts — places such as Five Points, Hillsboro Village or 12South — where the concentration of quality eats means you can stroll the sidewalks, sans reservation, and feel confident you’ll find an open table and a pleasant meal. Generally speaking, dining districts emerge glacially, resulting from the slow-and-steady convergence of entrepreneurs and retail and residential traffic. Even the restaurant-rich blocks around the Schermerhorn took their time to populate with Past Perfect, Etch, The Farm House, The Southern and Cherry Street Eatery. Not so at the Omni Nashville Hotel. … The full story

The Farm House: Photo by Eric England

The Farm House: Photo by Eric England

Nashville Scene, December 19, 2013
Following the Herd
The Farm House stumbles into a crowded field of farm-to-table dining

Man, I love that Porter Flea. This winter edition of the roving pop-up market at Track One was a dazzling medley of tradition and innovation, nostalgia and modernity, community and individualism. A simultaneous celebration of local talent and broad horizons. My shopping companion and I were spinning like tops, trying to take it all in as we roamed the colorful aisles of letterpress posters, handcrafted lamps, refurbished luggage and electronics, artisanal foods, screen-printed knitwear, laser-cut stationery, hand-dyed woolens and hand-hewn skateboards. I wanted it all. I wanted to stay forever. That is, right up to the point when I wanted to get the hell out of there. … The full story

Mason's Southern Provisions: Photo by Eric England

Mason’s Southern Provisions: Photo by Eric England

Nashville Scene, June 20, 2013
Masonic Rights
Ambitious and inventive, Mason’s Southern Provisions, inside the renovated Loews Vanderbilt, has some issues to resolve

In the rising culinary tide that is lifting so many boats on Nashville’s dining horizon, one of the latest high-water marks can be found — of all places — inside Loews Vanderbilt hotel. Let’s be honest — until now, the hotel has not exactly been a dining destination. You’ve probably thought of it more often as a place for distant cousins to stay while on their Southern Ivy college tour. Or as the landlord of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. Or as the site of a keynote address, where you ate chicken. But chef Brandon Frohne is setting out to change all that with Mason’s Southern Provisions, an impressive breakfast-lunch-and-dinner brasserie in the lobby of the newly renovated hotel.. … The full story

Photo by Eric England

Pub 5: Photo by Eric England

Nashville Scene, June 6, 2013
High Five
Rising above the sights and sounds of Lower Broadway, Pub5 delights the senses
They say hunger is the best gravy. To that, we might add that surprise is the best aperitif. Because nothing kicks off a meal better than a delightful element of the unexpected. Of all the things we liked about Pub5, the newest effort by 12 South Taproom owners Will Shuff, Jamy Borda and Alex Torres, it was the unexpected atmosphere that set the stage for delightful dining experiences. … The full story

Nashville Scene, May 9, 2013
Suddenly Sardinia
From octopus and quail to wild boar and rabbit, Midtown’s festive Sardinia offers a  pizza-less taste of Italy
Growing up in Nashville, I developed a certain digestive reflex: Whenever I turn onto 25th Avenue North, I begin to salivate, and I flinch ever so slightly, as if a shrimp tail were hurtling toward my head. Because in my mind and in my belly, that park-side block north of West End Avenue is synonymous with one thing: Kobe Steaks. As a child, my fancier friends took us there for hibachi-style birthday dinners. My prom date took me, too. His parents drove. … The full story

Nashville Scene, March 21, 2013
Have You Heard?
Rumours have it 12South’s favorite wine bar has gone uptown
You might remember a while back, I penned a review titled “Where the Boys Are,” about Edley’s Bar-B-Que. Given that the Edley’s clientele is consistently heavily male — though the males themselves are not consistently heavy — I made the tongue-in-cheek suggestion that girls ISO boys follow their noses to the smoke rings of 12South’s shoulder-smoking dude magnet. In the wake of the review, some prickly bloggers took offense at my insinuating that women go to restaurants to find men. Sorry. Right. Women never do that. … The full story

Nashville Scene, March 14, 2013
Look at That Escargot
At Riviera Provincial Grill, Midtown gets a Nice taste of France
Come dinnertime in the narrow streets of Old Nice in the Provence region of France, there is a festive air of culinary carnival. Restaurateurs set tables on the sidewalks and drag chalkboard menus onto the crooked lanes, in hopes of luring sun-weary diners into their establishments to indulge in their particular versions of the local delicacies. For the wide-eyed Côte D’Azur tourist hungry for the flavors of France, there is a dizzying selection. It’s starting to feel that way in Nashville, too. … The full story

Nashville Scene, March 7, 2013
Austria and Hungry
A block from the Parthenon, Viener Fest brings a taste of Vienna to the Athens of the South
For those of you inclined to underestimate the value of punctuation, consider what a difference a hyphen can make. For example, if I were to tell you about the new Southern German restaurant in a four-square house near Centennial Park, you might expect an eatery devoted to culinary delicacies from below the Weisswurstäquator. That is to say, from south of Germany’s River Main, a region known for weisswurst (white sausage). But if you knew I was talking about a Southern-hyphen-German restaurant, you might expect an intercontinental fusion of German cuisine with the tastes of the Southern United States. For purposes of clarity, we might say Southern-German, y’all, ja?… The full story

Advertisements

One thought on “Nashville Restaurants

  1. Pingback: Recommendations for You, Buttercup | Build Me Up, Buttercup

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s