Five Guys Famous Burgers and Fries opened this week in the Hill Center, and we're already getting enthusiastic reports. Anyone up for a field trip to see what all the hyperbole is about? Say, Wednesday at 11 a.m.? Mr. Pink and I will see you there.
Want to know the top restaurants in Nashville—the ones we'd stack up against those in our sister cities across the country—as ranked by Where the Locals Eat? Tough. You'll just have to get Where the Locals Eat: The 100 Best Restaurants in the Top 50 Cities ($11.95, Magellan), the WTLE website's new pocket-sized guide to fine dining and good eats from Chicago to Seattle.
Editor Pat Embry, who also writes the Nashville entries, says that each city's section takes into consideration its regional specialties and unique ethnic makeup—e.g., the high concentration of seafood and delis in Miami. That explains why the Nashville section is lacking in Chinese cuisine, our city's habitual culinary blind spot.
Embry points instead to Nashville landmarks such as Prince's Hot Chicken and La Hacienda, the latter being his pick for the city's most influential ethnic restaurant. "It changed the whole nature of what we consider Mexican in town," Embry says.
The book isn't the only recent development at Where the Locals Eat. The site changed the name of its restaurant-news blog—the place where local food reporters keep score of their scoops—to YumbleBUS. (I had a cousin who was once hit by a Yumblebus.) The old title, Nashville Restaurant News, "was not a particularly sexy name," Embry says.
The book is available at Davis-Kidd, and Embry suggests it as a stocking stuffer. "It's only 12 bucks," he says. "I can blow 12 bucks at Taco Bell." But with his book, there's no reason for you to do the same.
Aw, what the heck. It's Thanksgiving. After the jump: 10 of the top Nashville restaurants in Embry's book.
If you've got satellite radio, tune in to Martha Stewart Living Radio today to hear Carrington Fox talk about the local restaurant scene. Living Today with host Kerry Nolan broadcasts on Sirius Channel 112, and Fox will be on the air at 2 p.m.
The Martha will not be present, but maybe Carrington will draw her out.
Jason Brumm, owner of sleek Radius10 restaurant in The Gulch, is expanding his entrepreneurial reach down market, with a casual Mexi-Cali concept on Belmont Boulevard. Brumm just finalized a deal to purchase Tabouli's, a Middle Eastern restaurant next to PM and across the street from the International Market. He takes over on Dec. 1 and hopes to open Dos Locos Taqueria y Margarita Bar by Jan. 5.
The changeover means that PM owner Arnold Myint and the rest of the neighborhood can put away their petitions and sigh with relief knowing that Subway won't be popping up a yellow awning in that location. Earlier this year, word on the street was that the ubiquitous sandwich chain was setting up shop in the quirky pedestrian-friendly corridor beside Belmont University.
Brumm, who opened the upscale Radius10 two years ago, is partnering with Austin Ray—owner of Bar Twenty3 and City Hall—and Greg Richardson to launch Dos Locos. Far from the industrial-minimalist decor of Radius10, Dos Locos will be decked with Polaroids of taco-eating contests, graffiti, lots of red drippy candles, roses and Mexican religious iconography.
Brumm has planned a menu of items priced at $12 or less, in hopes of luring the hungry hordes of nearby Belmont and Vandy students. Expect a roster of bottomless queso, fresh guacamole, ceviche, grilled corn on the cob with garlicky mayo, enchiladas, quesadillas and other California-infused Mexican staples, which Colorado native Brumm calls "Mexi-Calirado" cuisine. Having seen Brumm behind the bar muddling fresh fruits for Radius10's margaritas, we're looking forward to trying the house recipe at Dos Locos.
Located at 2015 Belmont Blvd., Dos Locos will serve lunch and dinner seven days a week, with a late-night happy hour—or "Study Break"—planned for 11 p.m. to midnight.
Here are some questions that play off a recent comment on Bites: What signifies a creative chef? Is there a point at which food is no longer food?
Let's set a few guidelines before we answer the question.
First, assume there is no new food and that everything has been done before—a common belief in the food industry.
Second, feel free to incorporate fads and the evolution of dining throughout history.
Third, creativity without execution is just plain bad cooking.
Welcome to Jeremy Barlow, chef-owner of Tayst restaurant, who joins us as our guest chef today. Jeremy will pose a couple of questions this morning and stop in periodically to weigh in.
I am a staunch proponent of local foods and local businesses, and I believe the majority of food bloggers tend to feel the same way. If you want to talk about food when you're not eating it, you're probably a foodie. If you're a foodie, you probably frequent restaurants that serve local product because local food is better. (How's that for paying attention in my logic class?)
Anyway, it's a constant battle to stay true to this belief due to all sorts of challenges, from developing relationships with farmers to sourcing asparagus in the winter to coping with a drought that freezes then dries up again; however, as my whole staff recently discovered while eating baby carrots right out of the ground at Farmer Dave's, every bit of extra work that goes into buying local is worth it.
I see the nation and particularly Nashville at a culinary crossroads. On one hand, you have a portion of the population following independent restaurants that are pushing toward using all local ingredients while continually supporting the local community in numerous ways. On the other hand, you have corporate chains numbing the country's palate with their collective "American menu" and at the same time slowly sending the independent restaurants the way of the neighborhood hardware store and movie theater. As "greening" becomes the hip thing to do in this country, and as the voice of the "locavore" gets louder, by virtue of its role in the greening, my question is this:
Does our community—and the nation as a whole—have the ability to return to the ways of old, i.e. eating seasonal food at local places? Or are we doomed to follow the path of cattle in a feedlot, supplementing our diet with antibiotics and diet drugs while we eat the same menu at every restaurant?
Bestselling author Michael Ruhlman will conduct a demonstration class at The Viking Store, Nov. 15, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Focusing on his book The Elements of Cooking, he will prepare a menu of lardons salad with spinach and arugula; pancetta-cured bacon; blanquette de poulet with fresh noodles, sauteed mushrooms, roasted shallots and gremolata; and cinnamon-sugar choux doughnuts with ice cream and chocolate sauce.
Ruhlman is the author of 12 books, including The Soul of a Chef, The Making of a Chef and Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing. He is also an occasional judge on Iron Chef America.
Space is limited. For reservations, call 599-9617. The Viking Store is located at 230 Franklin Road, Bldg. 13 in the Factory at Franklin.
Who would ever have thought our local wine-beer-liquor laws could get even screwier? Check out Pith in the Wind for a story that will make you want to hit the bottle—as long as it's 70 oz. or larger.
It's a recurring question: Who has the best barbecue in Nashville? And it's one that I just got asked again this week by some folks at the Food Network, who are coming to town.
Martin's, Jack's, Dee's, Jim 'N' Nick's, Dickey's, Famous Dave's, Mary's, Judge Bean's, Neely's, Pop's, Tex's, Whitt's or Bar-B-Cutie, to name just a few.... If you had 36 hours in Nashville, whose 'cue would you do?
Just because it keeps coming up here in different threads...here is a behind-the-scenes clip of filming the notorious "octopus scene" from Park Chan-wook's delirious revenge thriller Oldboy. Not for the squeamish—and definitely not approved by the ASPCA.
No, no, it's nothing. Really.
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