Thursday, February 6, 2014

Forgot to Make Valentine's Day Reservations? Get Saved By the Scene

Posted By on Thu, Feb 6, 2014 at 1:45 PM


Look, we've all done it.

Valentine's Day sneaks up on us, and in a panic, we start calling restaurants trying to get a table for that romantic dinner with our sweetheart. But unless you started calling weeks ago, those tables are long gone.

That's where Bites comes in.

We have reserved tables at some of the best places in town and one of them can be yours. Want to check out Matt Bolus' "uncomplicated" goodness at The 404 Kitchen? Sean Brock's take on Southern ingredients at Husk? Take in the classic flavors at Margot? See the new chef at The Catbird Seat?

Here's how you get one of the tables:

1) Go here and register. We'll draw one winner for each reservation.

2) Follow @BitesBlog on Twitter. We'll tweet out the winners throughout the day.

Now, we're not buying dinner, just holding the table. It's up to you to pay. Our only request? Let us know how your dinner went on social media. Tweet to us @BitesBlog or take a picture on Instagram and tag @NashvilleScene.

It's that easy.

And remember who helped you out of that Valentine's Day jam.

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Treehouse: This Week's Dining Review

Posted By on Thu, Jan 30, 2014 at 6:33 PM

Cauliflower Steak
In this week's Dining column, Scene restaurant critic Carrington Fox reviews The Treehouse, which opened in October in the Five Points neighborhood of East Nashville.

The sleekly designed nest in a former family home on Clearview Avenue (a couple doors down from Marché) seats only 42. It just might be, Fox says, "Nashville's most low-profile and high-energy neighborhood eatery."

You may have heard the word "tapas" tossed around in connection to The Treehouse. But Fox says Corey Ladd, who co-owns Treehouse with his uncle Matt Spicher, rejects that label.

She adds: "Treehouse's servings are larger than traditional tapas; the bread pudding was larger than my car."

Read the full review here, and feel free to comment below if you've checked out Treehouse yourself.

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

This Week's Dining Review Visits the New Omni

Posted By on Thu, Jan 2, 2014 at 3:39 PM

Bobs Steak & Chop House at the Omni
In this week's Scene, restaurant critic Carrington Fox visits the sprawling environs of the new Omni Nashville Hotel, adjacent to the Music City Center downtown. She describes how a self-contained dining district — the Omni — sprang up in what had been an unpromising construction site in 2012.

A year later ... boom! Steakhouse, sports-bar-cum-music-venue and breakfast-lunch-dinner-brunch spot. There's even an outpost of the beloved Bongo Java coffeehouse. All under one roof. Also under that extended roof: the relocated Hatch Show Print workshop, artist Jim Sherraden's gallery, the stunning new CMA theater and a convenient valet option for the parking opportunist. Welcome to the Omni dining district.

Fox had good luck at the three restaurants mentioned above: Bob's Steak & Chop House, Barlines and Kitchen Notes. And she found the Omni complex to be a worthwhile destination for tourists and townies alike. Read her full review here.

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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.

Continue reading »

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Christie Cookies Featured on the Dessert Menus of Nashville Originals

Posted By on Wed, Oct 9, 2013 at 9:51 AM

Southern Pecan Bourbon Pie featuring Christie Cookies at McCabe Pub
  • Southern Pecan Bourbon Pie featuring Christie Cookies at McCabe Pub
Get out your calendar and make plans to enjoy some fantastic desserts next week. From Oct. 14-20, members of Nashville Originals have teamed up with the folks at Christie Cookie to help celebrate the cookie maker’s 30th anniversary.

Thirty years ago, Christie Cookie started as a little fresh-made cookie shop on Church Street right here in Nashville. Founder Christie Hauck made the cookies based on the recipe of a neighbor. The cookies were so good that they were soon in demand all over the country. So Christie started mailing them as quickly as he (yes, he) could make them.

That mail-order business soon became a huge cookie-making operation that sends thousands of frozen and freshly baked cookies all over the country and makes custom cookies for some high-profile companies and restaurants. All based on that original recipe using the same ingredients you use at home. The famous Doubletree cookies? Christie Cookie makes them. Every day, cookies are freshly baked and shipped from Christie Cookie headquarters on Third Avenue North in Germantown, just steps away from some of the city’s most popular and renowned restaurants. If you're nearby during office hours, you can even stop in and buy a cookie or a tin of cookies to take with you.

Here’s a partial list of delectable concoctions from the restaurants participating in Christie Cookie's 30th anniversary celebrations. (Warning: This list may make you very hungry.)

• 55 South in Franklin - Peanut Butter & Apple Jam Snickerdoodle Tart: Christie Cookie snickerdoodle cookie tart shell filled with house-made caramelized apple jam and peanut butter mousse, topped with a sprinkle of roasted, salted peanuts.

Continue reading »

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Green Hills Thai & Sushi: This Week's Restaurant Review

Posted By on Fri, Aug 16, 2013 at 1:59 PM

In this week's issue of the Nashville Scene, restaurant critic Carrington Fox checks out Green Hills Thai & Sushi, a new eatery at at 4004 Hillsboro Pike in Green Hills.

There was a time when there was only choice when it came to sushi in Green Hills, Fox writes. That was Shintomi, the late Japanese restaurant on Bandywood. Now the neighborhood offers a few options, whether it's Ginza, Kohana, Tokyo Japanese Steak House or even the fresh sushi counter at Whole Foods.

"It is in the context of ever-rising expectations that we visited Green Hills Thai & Sushi and found a two-pronged menu that held up well in the Thai department but less favorably in the sushi category," Fox says.

Read her full review here. And has anybody tried Green Hills Thai & Sushi? What are your thoughts about Fox's idea of "ever-rising expectations"? Do you hold your meals to higher standards as Nashville's restaurant scene evolves?

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Puckett's Boat House: This Week's Dining Review

Posted By on Thu, Aug 8, 2013 at 4:53 PM

In this week's issue of the Nashville Scene, restaurant critic Carrington Fox gives her take on Puckett's Boat House, a seafood-themed establishment at 94 E. Main St. in downtown Franklin, a labor of love from the Marshall family, known for their popular Puckett's cafes in Franklin and downtown Nashville. Fox says:

It's hard to put a finger on why this hybrid oyster bar/bait shop/music venue recalls the ease of a seaside crab shack, when it sits two blocks off the square in landlocked Franklin. But history would suggest it has something to do with the Marshall family, who imbue their country-store-casual Puckett's restaurants — including eateries in the downtowns of Nashville, Franklin and Columbia — with an easygoing hospitality outside the band of the daily grind.

Another explanation could be the whimsical design, cribbed from so many Gulf Coast joints brined outside with ocean air and wallpapered inside with the dollar bills of sentimental spring breakers. Somehow, the Boat House captures all that patina without being ticky-tacky.

She describes the fare: "The made-from-scratch menu scratches the itch for Southern-style beach cuisine — battered, fried or on the half-shell."

Of special note is the selection of Gulf oysters: "Apalachicola oysters get their own section on the menu, headlining with a half-dozen raw for $8 or a full dozen for $14. If you're suspicious of raw shellfish, or superstitious about months without R's, there's an array of grilled oysters, with toppings such as cheese, chorizo and cilantro; cheese, bacon and jalapeño; and Rockefeller-style spinach."

Fox also enthuses about the cafe-market on one end of the long restaurant, with marble-topped tables and a fridge full of pastries. "The playful pièce de résistance hangs overhead — an elaborate light fixture fashioned from an upside-down rowboat."

What do you say, Bites readers? Has anybody charted a course to Puckett's Boat House?

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Husk Nashville: This Week's Restaurant Review

Posted By on Thu, Aug 1, 2013 at 3:57 PM

Bear Creek Beef with Shiitake, Roast Cauliflower and Herb Dressing at Husk
In today's Dining column in the Scene, restaurant critic Carrington Fox gives her report on one of the most high-profile restaurants ever to open in this city, Husk Nashville, chef Sean Brock's sister restaurant to his celebrated Husk in Charleston, S.C.

Interestingly, Fox has two very different tales to tell: an evening meal that she describes as "a sultry, lips-parted love story of burning romance between a diner and her food," with her as the "besotted diner" swept up "Brock's dual passions for culinary tradition and modern technology."

After the feverishly satisfying dinner, Fox says, "We conceded that the hype about Husk Nashville is justified. We understood why the crowded dining room and bustling bar were dotted with chefs and owners from Nashville's 'It City' restaurant scene."

Then the review concludes with what Fox calls the "less engrossing" story of a disappointing lunch. Read the whole thing here.

What do you say, Bitesters? Anybody ready to comment on lunch vs. dinner at Husk? Is it wise to hold off on lunch and wait the time required to secure a reservation for dinner? And isn't is always puzzling when a restaurant shows a discrepancy between its midday and evening experiences?

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

This Week's Dining Column Samples Nashville's Best Summer Drinks

Posted By on Thu, Jul 11, 2013 at 4:50 PM

The Porch Pounder at City House
  • drinkingmadeeasy.com
  • The Porch Pounder at City House
In this week's Dining column in the Scene, Abby White packs up her favorite slurping straw and visits the best spots in town to get a summer beverage, whether spicy and spiked or sweetly kid-friendly.

As she explains it:

Whether you're craving an adult beverage or searching for something to quench your inner child's thirst, Nashville has plenty to offer. In the name of research, I rounded up some thirsty friends, and we ventured out to find the best summer drinks and the best places in which to enjoy them.

Some of the drinks she samples include the Porch Pounder at City House (endorsed by Zane Lamprey of Drinking Made Easy), the Chubby Checker milkshake at Bobbie's Dairy Dip, and the ginger phosphate (with jalapeño, ginger syrup and phosphoric acid for fizz) at The Pharmacy.

What do you say, Bites folks? Got a favorite for whistle-wetting in the summer months?

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Thistle Stop Café: This Week's Dining Review

Posted By on Thu, Jun 27, 2013 at 1:38 PM

In this week's Scene, restaurant critic Carrington Fox has a particularly uplifting piece about the recently opened Thistle Stop Café, the latest enterprise from Magadalene, a residential program for women who have survived lives of prostitution, trafficking, addiction and life on the streets. Magdalene was founded by the Rev. Becca Stevens, an Episcopal priest at Vanderbilt's St. Augustine's Chapel, in 1997.

Nashville — in particular, its rising restaurant scene — is the story of the moment. From The New York Times to Food & Wine, reporters are chronicling the ascendancy of Music City with such breathless narration of kale salad and hot chicken you'd think life here was a cabaret of artisan bacon and craft cocktails against a backdrop of reclaimed barnwood and bespoke denim. It makes for a good read.

But there is a deeper, quieter, longer-running story about life in Nashville that's not so obvious to the visiting trend-spotter. For the layover journalist attempting to capture the character of the city — culinary or otherwise — might we suggest adding the Thistle Stop Café to your itinerary? Because you'd be hard-pressed to find a location that tells a more endearing or hopeful story about the people who live here.

Continue reading »

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