Thursday, November 28, 2013

Nashville Restaurants Open for Thanksgiving

Posted By on Thu, Nov 28, 2013 at 6:23 AM

• The Hermitage Hotel's Capitol Grille (345-7116) will offer a three-course prix fixe Thanksgiving menu from 5 to 8 p.m. $52.50 per adult for brunch, $27.50 per child under 12.

• At the other end of the dining spectrum — our end — Cracker Barrel serves up Thanksgiving dinner for $9.99 per person ($4.99 for kids) starting at 11 a.m. Or serve up to six with Thanksgiving takeout for $54.99 — just make sure you give 24 hours' notice.

Ellendale's (2739 Old Elm Hill Pike, 884-0171) will have its Thanksgiving buffet available 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; cost is $31.95 plus beverage.

• The downtown Hilton (121 Fourth Ave. S., 620-2178) provides a buffet of roasted turkey, steamship ham, prime rib, a seafood station with smoked salmon and jumbo shrimp, and a "special children's buffet." Adults $46, children 7-12 $14; children under 6 eat free. Reservations recommended.
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• Sick to death of seasonal fare? Kiss turkey goodbye at the Indian buffets at Bombay Palace (2912 West End, 321-6140), Sitar (116 21st Ave. N., 321-8889), the recently opened Taj (3943 Nolensville Road, 750-3490) or their vegetarian counterpart Woodlands (3415 West End, 463-3005).

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The 404 Kitchen: This Week's Dining Review

Posted By on Wed, Nov 27, 2013 at 12:06 PM

In this week's print edition of the Scene I reviewed The 404 Kitchen. Chef Matt Bolus — formerly the sous at Flyte and the chef at Watermark — has put together an extremely impressive restaurant wedged inside a shipping container stuck onto the front of an upcoming boutique hotel.

A couple of things that didn't make the final piece ...

— I'm fascinated by Bolus' Italian outlook on food. When he calls his dishes "uncomplicated," what he's talking about is a highly technical, yet non-French way of approaching a menu. There are few if any sauces, and the preparations tend to be very straightforward. When most of us think Italian, we think red-and-white checkerboard tablecloths and chicken parmesan. This is much more in line with the work Philip Krajeck is doing at Rolf and Daughters, but with fewer pasta offerings.

— There's no reclaimed barnwood in the place, which was nice. I was having coffee with someone a few weeks ago who argued that "Barnwood" should be its own category of restaurant: reclaimed wood on the walls, farm-to-table on the menu, etc. The next restaurant that opens as a Southern food place with all of these trappings should just lean into it and call itself "Barnwood 8" and leave R.E.M. on repeat in the background. Take a break, Barnwood 8, you've been on this shift too long ...

— As I was enjoying the meals there I kept thinking this is the kind of place Nashville needs to add if it's going to have a truly great dining scene. It's got a chef with a pretty strong point of view, the food is executed with a high degree of technique and care, and it's a completely unpretentious experience.

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Josephine Will Open Dec. 6 in 12South

Posted By on Wed, Nov 27, 2013 at 11:44 AM

Josephine, restaurateur Miranda Whitcomb Pontes' new project in 12South, is set to open Friday, Dec. 6, the company announced today.

Some friends-and-family preview events will start this Monday, with the restaurant officially launching the following Friday. A reservations number, 615-292-7766, is expected to go live this Friday, Nov. 29, at 10 a.m.

Josephine, a sister restaurant to Pontes' Burger Up down the street, is one of the more anticipated openings of the year. Located at 2316 12th Ave. S., it fills a prominent space in the new 12 South Flats apartment and retail development.

Meanwhile, Pontes and her business partner Jim Lewis are working to open another restaurant, Prima, on the ground floor of Terrazzo in the Gulch. When I talked to Pontes earlier this month, she said Prima was shooting for an opening sometime in mid-2014.

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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Corn But Didn't Know to Ask

Posted By on Wed, Nov 27, 2013 at 8:53 AM

There are so many articles — informational and otherwise — speculating on the foods served for the first Thanksgiving. Most agree there was shellfish and venison and other items that haven’t survived the years of tradition to be part of our collective Thanksgiving feast. Most also agree the meal did include corn, but most likely in the form of stuffing. So if you’re still having the “dressing versus stuffing” argument, the answer is we’re all kind of right. The first stuffing was probably inside the bird (though it may have been a goose), but there was definitely no white (wheat) bread in there; the natives only ate breads made of corn.

And cornbread is probably the only way they did eat corn, since most natives ate what we now call “flint corn,” which is part of a category known as “field corn.” These days, field corn is used for animal feed, oil, and meal/flour. What we eat as whole kernel or "corn on the cob" is a category of varieties known as sweet corn, which came into existence in the 18th century as a hybridization of field corn.

And both field corn and sweet corn are different from popcorn. That’s right; popcorn is a different variety of corn from the corn you eat on the cob and what the farmed animals are eating. You can try to pop other types of corn, but it probably won't happen, due to the different makeup of what's inside the hull (moisture and starch levels).

Popcorn — though also a type of field corn originally — is now its own category of corn and even has its own two subcategories: mushroom and butterfly (physical descriptors of the popped kernels). The butterfly style is most popular with movie theaters. The mushroom style is most popular for caramel corn. I recently learned all of these facts when having a — let’s say — discussion with my husband. Incidentally, he was the one who was right. All I knew about corn was that some is white (and the dried hulls tend to be softer) and some is yellow (which, to me is the more flavorful of corns). There was obviously so much more to know about corn. I should never have argued; I come from cotton country.

Anyway, there you have it. All you ever wanted to know about corn (or perhaps never cared to know). File this away as useful dinner conversation when your uncle, cousin or grandmother inevitably brings up Obamacare or “when are you going to get married/have kids?” at the dinner table. Buy some extra conflict-free time by trying to pop some sweet corn and report back your results.

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Arnold Myint Announces Some Very Happy Hours at blvd

Posted By on Wed, Nov 27, 2013 at 8:01 AM

As the impending holiday shopping season approaches, it's always good to have a couple of happy places in mind where you can go to when the crowds get you down. With that in mind, Chef Arnold Myint has rolled out what looks like a spectacular set of happy hour deals for his restaurant blvd on Belmont.

First of all, unlike most places, the blvd holiday happy hour is every night of the week except Sunday, and stretches from 2 to 7 p.m. That's a window I can hit. The structure of the deal is that you can pick any two items off of the list below for just $8, and the offer includes both food and drink.

Blvd Holiday Happy Hour

Pick any two items for $8

Well Whiskey
Well Vodka
House Bubbles
House Red/White Wine
Local Bottles/Draft
BLVD Fries (small)
Cup of Soup du Jour
Petit Caesar Salad
Pate du Campagne
Jalapeno Nachos
Pimento Cheese Melt
Hot Chicken Bites
Crab Cake w/Arugula
Saigon Steak Skewers
Cheese Plate
Potato Chips
Mac n’ Cheese

If you can't find something you like on that long list, then you're just too hard to shop for...

Speaking of the holidays, as an homage to A Christmas Story, Myint will keep Suzy Wong's House of Yum open on Christmas Day for anyone whose turkey gets stolen by the Bumpus hounds.

PM and blvd will also be open on Christmas. For New Year's Eve, blvd will actually take reservations, which is unusual for that restaurant, and will be serving prixe fixe meals of three and five courses.

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Two Ten Jack, Nashville's First Izakaya, Aims to Open in January

Posted By on Wed, Nov 27, 2013 at 7:39 AM

Two Ten Jack, an ambitious new restaurant and bar going into the Walden development in East Nashville, will represent our city's first izakaya, a Japanese-style neighborhood pub that has become a hot concept in larger cities.

It's the project of Patrick Burke of Seed Hospitality, best-known for Zumi Sushi in Hillsboro Village, and his business partner, chef Jason McConnell (Red Pony, 55 South, Cork and Cow), who will be Two Ten Jack's culinary director. Running Two Ten Jack's kitchen will be another familiar face, Jessica Benefield, most recent winner of the Scene's Iron Fork competition and former executive chef at Virago.

Burke says Two Ten Jack is unlike anything we've ever seen in Nashville. "It's our interpretation of an izakaya, a very informal, unpretentious neighborhood gathering spot, with authentic cuisine, handcrafted cocktails and gourmet ramen."

Izakayas were traditionally sake joints that served snacks, so libations are naturally a big part of the concept.

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The Weekly Open Thread: And You Thought Turducken Was Weird?

Posted By on Wed, Nov 27, 2013 at 5:57 AM

You've likely heard of turducken — a deboned chicken stuffed into a deboned duck stuffed into a turkey. Well, that fowl lover's dream (some might say a foul lover's dream) is gaining popularity on Thanksgiving tables. And it has its roots in a long history of weird hybrid animal foodstuffs.

In fact, we have a photo of a turducken predecessor, courtesy of The Atlantic, that some folks here at Bites headquarters found quite disturbing — so much so that we have decided to post it after the jump. Vegans, vegetarians, even carnivores with weak stomachs may want to refrain from looking. But you know you just have to click that "Continue reading" link. It's beckoning you ...

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Work Off That Turkey on the Nashville Brew Bus

Posted By on Tue, Nov 26, 2013 at 5:58 AM

You'll be over the tryptophan coma by Saturday, right? If you don't have a dog (or an elephant or a war eagle) in the big Iron Bowl tilt this weekend, why not get out of the house and take a nice tour of some of the area's favorite craft breweries. The Nashville Brew Bus is running a special Thanksgiving Leftovers Brew Bus this Saturday, Nov. 30, and invites you to bring some of your Turkey Day leftovers to share at a family-style potluck hosted by Craft Brewed at 2502 Franklin Pike.

The tour will kick off at M.L. Rose in Melrose a little before noon (the website gives the improbably exact time of 11:50, so you might want to show up a little earlier than that), and then makes a couple of stops before the bus settles at Craft Brewed for the feast. Pack your potluck contributions to travel.

There will be tours and tastings along the way and some drink specials to stretch your beer-spending dollars. Here's the schedule:

Thanksgiving Leftovers Brew Bus

Depart from M.L. Rose West

Yazoo Brewing Co. — Tour and tasting

Tennessee Brew Works — Tour and tasting

Craft Brewed Nashville — Family style leftovers meal. Buy one pint, get one free

The Black Abbey Brewing Co. — Tour and tasting

End at M.L. West — First pint free!

All participants must be 21 or older. No exceptions.

There are still a few spots left on the bus, so grab a buddy and sign up here.

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Spike Apologizes for Airing Bar Rescue Episode After Slaying

Posted By on Mon, Nov 25, 2013 at 3:38 PM

Over the weekend, a patron at the Pit and Barrel bar and restaurant on Second Avenue South downtown was fatally shot; police say bar owner Chris Ferrell, 44, admitted to shooting musician Wayne Mills, claiming the killing was self-defense. Police say the investigation continues into the slaying early Saturday morning, though no charges have yet been filed.

In a weird twist, Pit and Barrel (formerly BoondoxXx BBQ & Juke Joint) was the scheduled subject of Sunday's episode of Bar Rescue, a Spike TV show in which host Jon Teffer visits underperforming bars and works with the owner to turn the business around.

After Ferrell (who is NOT the Chris Ferrell who is CEO of Nashville Scene parent company Southcomm) admitted to killing Mills at the bar, Spike TV agreed not to air the new episode featuring the bar. The network managed to replace the prime-time broadcast with a rerun, but the second airing, at midnight CST, went ahead as scheduled.

After outrage from Mills' family and friends, Spike issued an apology:

"In our last minute effort over the weekend to pull the 'Bar Rescue' episode featuring the Pit and Barrel, we regretfully did not remove a late-night telecast of the episode. We apologize to all those affected by the terrible tragedy over the weekend and to Jon Taffer, the production team, and our advertisers for our unfortunate human error."

It doesn't seem like there are always happy endings after Nashville restaurateurs team up with reality shows. Chappy's on Church, for example, closed after it was featured on Gordon's Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares.

For more on the death of Mills and the reaction from the country music community, check out sister blog Nashville Cream.

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Southern Foodways Alliance Documentary Pride and Joy Airs on WNPT on Tuesday

Posted By on Mon, Nov 25, 2013 at 9:11 AM

One of the loveliest tributes to John Egerton last week came from John T. Edge, the executive director of the Southern Foodways Alliance. Edge's New York Times piece was apt because the SFA might not have ever been formed and indeed wouldn't have been the same without the influence of Egerton, who was one of the organization's founders.

One important initiative the SFA undertakes is filmmaker Joe York's series of short documentaries that share the stories of the people who help to preserve the foodways of the South. They have organized most of them here at the SFA website if you'd like to while away an afternoon being entertained.

Last year, York compiled a feature-length film from many of the short pieces and some new footage to produce Pride and Joy, a great survey of his and the SFA's work. I was fortunate enough to watch a screening last year, and it is full of some of my favorite characters in the Southern food universe. The film is now being syndicated around PBS stations, and our local WNPT affiliate has scheduled a broadcast this Tuesday, Nov. 26 at 8 p.m.

Above is a trailer to give you a taste.

The film is described as "an examination of Southern foodways, including how traditional foodways endure; and how regional foodways may change due to America's increasing ethnic and racial diversity."

That sounds like a description of John Egerton's passions and befits his involvement with the SFA. York also cut together a short clip of some of Egerton's comments that he shot while filming Pride and Joy, which you can watch on the SFA website.

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