The restaurateur brothers Benjamin and Max Goldberg bought Merchants earlier this year, and spent three months on a complete renovation of both the interior and the menu.
The Goldbergs, whose company is called Strategic Hospitality LLC, are known for diverse projects like the chic boite Patterson House and the kitschy, tourist-friendly Paradise Park Trailer Resort.
Merchants' changed identity is dramatic. The first-floor dining room and bar now have a European bistro look with a black-and-white color scheme that is lighter and more convivial. The ground level is more casual than the upstairs and will serve lunch, dinner and late-night snacks. The bartenders wear snappy bowtie-and-suspenders garb that looks straight out of the 1920s.
This week Tuesday, Aug. 3, at 6 p.m., September's is holding a Crown Royal Tasting. You can have the opportunity to taste five levels of Crown from the Blue to the XR. Have fun trying to distinguish the distinctions and characteristics of each level as you enjoy September's food paired with each spirit. The menu
is listed below:
Cunningham Farms sweet potato butter is just organic sweet potatoes, apple cider, cinnamon and cloves, but that doesn't do it justice. It's good on everything: toast and pancakes, a thin layer on a ham sandwich with spicy mustard, glazed over grilled chicken. As a substitute for carrots in carrot cake, in blond brownies, as a souffle, paired with aged manchego. And it's just $6 for 10 ounces, which is pretty reasonable as handmade, small-batch products go.
It's made in Hancock County, which provides jobs in that economically challenged area of Appalachia. It's a super-double good thing.
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(Hat tip, tastingtable.com)
Mold in ice machines at six stands at Miller Park in Milwaukee. A cockroach crawling over a soda dispenser in a private club at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh. Food service workers repeatedly ignoring orders to wash their hands at a stand at Detroit's Ford Field.
Sports fans don't always see such health threats when ordering a $5 hot dog and $6 beer at a professional sports stadium or arena. But the violations catch the eyes of inspectors who poke, prod and probe stadium kitchens that dish out a range of foods from burgers to sushi, for tens of millions of fans who eat at major professional sports venues from coast to coast each year.
As someone who's consumed my fair share of such sporty comestibles, I have to say I got a sick feeling in my gut when the subject came up. And naturally, I wanted to know how edible/filthy our local arena chow is.
On a kid-free night (thank you, overnight camp!) we planned dinner with dear out-of-town friends. They've lived in Estonia, Taiwan, Korea — impressing them with cuisine is tough. Based on nudges from Carrington over the past months, we made a game-time decision: Firefly Grille.
Yes, I've been there in the last year, with a group of about 15 sozzled high school friends for drinks and again with two women half my size, who picked at their salads. Neither was the optimal way to experience the food (but the bar is so cozy and friendly, I can vouch for the cozy, friendly bar).
Here's my guide for you. I recommend Pimm's Cup. Although in other places, its quality varies widely, for this leap of faith, you'll get a tart, sweet, refreshing, and very tall drink to properly hydrate you on these hot evenings. It's long and strong, and packed with lemon wedges and slices of homegrown cucumber.
Ask about the pasta. I rarely order pasta, because it always seems like an afterthought on the menu. This pasta, someone had specifically designed for maximum impact. Delicate filet tips, twigs of asparagus, minced herbs, pan-toasted mushrooms with crispy edges and paper-thin slices of manchego cheese that melted into a sauce.
Topics so far have included local sourcing and soil health. Tonight the discussion (and film) will focus on what one person can do in making small decisions that add up.
Dinner, which will be sourced from local farms, begins at 5:45 p.m. and the program begins at 6:30. The series is at West End United Methodist Church, 2200 West End Ave., in McWhirter Hall. Get a reservation by calling 983-8850 or email email@example.com
If, like me, you stopped watching Season 7 of Top Chef the minute Padma Lakshmi told Arnold Myint to pack up his Louis Vuitton knife bag, you might want to resume your viewing — at least until the voting for Fan Favorite is over.
The cheftestant who earns the most votes in an audience poll stands to take home $10,000. Not bad for a Miss Congeniality-style honor. That chunk of change would be a pretty penny for Myint to put toward his goal of starting a foundation with an international focus on children, education, food and the arts. Or he could buy some more hats.
According to the omnipresent media rep assigned to Myint by Bravo network, Fan Favorite voting will take place in August. More details to follow. (And remember, you can't vote on your DVR. Doh!)
Chef Margot McCormack and her co-owner, Jay Frein, have demonstrated a continual commitment to their seasonal, farm to table menu that everyone knows and loves, so it's totally appropriate that they extend that attitude to their wine list. Frein has put together a thoughtful and creative wine list, and these wines should fit right in and not disappoint.
I haven't had a chance to see the new menu yet, but the wines I've tasted through Chateau Ross are nuanced and very representative of the varietals used. They are the ultimate representation of Tennessee terroir. Check out the Chateau Ross site and you'll see the varietals they use, including locally grown Zinfandel and Merlot.
They are going to give away free gelato noon to 3 p.m. this Saturday, July 31, at their Village Green location in Green Hills. You read that right. I said free.
Louis Osteen, the recently hired executive chef for the company, is a James Beard award-winning chef known for his mastery of Lowcountry cuisine. The restaurant is "a continuation of HDG’s focus on regional and seasonal cuisine" and will offer "coastal flavors and fresh seafood dishes, while also incorporating Osteen’s quintessential Lowcountry favorites," the company said in a release today.
"Osteen has crafted a menu capturing the diversity and growth of the South, modern, yet reminiscent of approachable home-cooking and including the flavors of Charleston, Florida and New Orleans cuisine," the release added.
The restaurant space is a high-profile spot in the base of the Adelicia condo tower near 20th Avenue and Division. Miro District was the first tenant in the space, which has multiple dining areas and a bar. Originally branded as rustic Italian, it has tackled French bistro and upscale Southern food in its two years. It definitely had some sublime moments, despite a changing chef roster and menu. I reviewed it very favorably in The Tennessean/All The Rage when it first opened in 2008. The Scene's Carrington Fox raved about its French bistro incarnation in 2009.
Under the new concept, the main dining room will offer a dinner menu that includes Mrs. Ralph Izzard’s Brown Oyster Stew (with benne seeds), Late Summer Tomato Pie (with field greens and basil aioli), Grilled Scallops (with shrimp hash, crispy okra and ravigote sauce), Jumbo Lump Crab and Lobster Cakes (with grained mustard crème) and Blue Ridge Rainbow Trout Stuffed with Crabmeat, Scallions and Benton’s Bacon (served with pan-fried potatoes).
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