When my partner and I attended a recent performance of the Nashville Symphony, we decided to try out Arpeggio, the restaurant in the East Lobby of the Schermerhorn.
Everything started off well enough. We were safely at our final destination, and the dining area, if a bit cramped, was as pleasant as the Schermerhorn itself.
When our server eventually showed up, he spent longer than necessary listing the buffet offerings--including appetizers, soups, entrées and desserts--which were plainly printed on our menus. Then he took our wine order.
Our impressions of the meal are as follows:
First Course: The "Fresh Greens and a Mélange of Toppings" was an OK salad bar. The "Antipasto Display" turned out to be edible, not just a display. The "Seasonal Soup du Jour" was by far the best item I encountered: roasted eggplant with garlic. I actually made a return trip for this.
Second Course: The "Niman Ranch Roast Loin of Pork with Honey Crisp Apple Chutney and Whipped Potato" sounded better than the outcome, though the potatoes were excellent. Also included were "Herb Grilled Ashley Farms Breast of Chicken, Stewed Lentils with Pancetta and Haricot Vert" and "Seafood Newburg with Steamed Rice." I skipped these in favor of the vegetarian entrée, "Ratatouille Stuffed Portobello with Fresh Mozzarella." Severely disappointing. It just tasted cheap.
Third Course: The "Artisanal Cheese Display" included a rich and delicious bleu cheese and an unmemorable mustard ale cheese. I tried one of each from the "Assortment of Chefs Hand Selected Desserts" before giving up and going back for more whipped potatoes.
If the name Arpeggio--meaning the sounding of the tones of a chord in rapid succession--was selected because you can quickly get in, dine and make it to your seat for the performance, someone forgot to explain this to our server. I'm not sure what kept him so busy, considering it's a buffet, but the one thing he was responsible for, drinks, was our biggest problem.
Long after we ordered, our server returned to explain that our wine selection wasn't available. We perused the list for an alternative, but had to wait for the server to make another round of the room before we could place our order for a half-bottle, only to be told half-bottles were not actually available. He then offered to bring us two glasses of the same wine, which totaled the same price as the half-bottle but equaled a lesser volume. Fine. Just get me alcohol, stat!
Our server, though rarely present, was very nice and did make my partner's second glass of wine on-the-house for our troubles.
All in all, the quality of the food and service wasn't really worth the $38 per-person price tag, unless you include the convenience of being mere steps from your seat--in one of the most acoustically and aesthetically spectacular settings in Nashville, if not the world.