Restaurants

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tandy Wilson Named Beard Award Finalist for Best Chef-Southeast

Posted By on Tue, Mar 24, 2015 at 8:54 AM

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For the third straight year, Tandy Wilson is a finalist for Best Chef-Southeast in the James Beard Awards.

The City House chef made the cut along with John Fleer of Rhubarb in Asheville, N.C.; Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia in Louisville; Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman of Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen in Memphis; Steven Satterfield of Miller Union in Atlanta; and Jason Stanhope of FIG in Charleston. The Southeast region includes Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Erin Murray, who moonlights as managing editor of Nashville Lifestyles, was nominated for her cookbook The New England Kitchen: Fresh Takes on Seasonal Recipes, along with Boston chef Jeremy Sewall.

Two other Nashville semifinalists didn’t fare as well. Ben and Max Goldberg of Strategic Hospitality (Outstanding Restaurateur) and their Patterson House (Outstanding Bar Program) didn’t make the finalist list. Both of those categories, which are national, are among the most competitive annually.

Sean Brock, who opened a second Husk restaurant in Nashville in 2013, is nominated for the national Outstanding Chef award for Husk Charleston.

For Wilson, who actually cooked for the Beard Awards gala in New York last spring, will the third time be the charm? The nature of the awards, particularly for those regions outside of the largest markets, is that chefs spend a few years as a finalist before winning as voters get a chance to sample their restaurant. Wilson has been the only Nashville finalist in Best Chef-Southeast the past few years.

Last year, Ashley Christensen of Poole’s Diner in Raleigh, N.C., was the winner.

Awards will be announced in two separate ceremonies this year. Book, broadcast and journalism awards will be presented at an April 24 dinner in New York City. But, for the first time, the main awards gala will take place outside the Big Apple, this time at the Lyric Opera in Chicago on Monday, May 4.

The complete list of nominees can be found here.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Tandy Wilson, Patterson House and Goldberg Brothers on Beard Award Semifinal List

Posted By on Wed, Feb 18, 2015 at 11:17 AM

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Tandy Wilson of City House made the semifinalist list for Best Chef Southeast for the 2015 James Beard Awards and was joined by The Patterson House (Outstanding Bar Program) and brothers Ben and Max Goldberg at Strategic Hospitality (Outstanding Restaurateur). Wilson has been a finalist the past two years. The Goldbergs' Pinewood Social was a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant last year.

Other Tennessee chefs and restaurants that received nominations include The Barn at Blackberry Farm in Walland (Outstanding Service), Daniel Lindley at Alleia in Chattanooga (Best Chef Southeast) and Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman at Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen in Memphis (Best Chef Southeast).

Lindley will open 5th & Taylor in Germantown this spring.

The Southeast region includes Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.

A list of finalists will be announced on March 24. For the first time, the awards, sometimes called the Oscars of dining, will move from New York to the Lyric Opera House in Chicago. The gala event will be held on May 4.

The full list can be found here.

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Finezza Italian Bistro Celebrates 25 Years in Belle Meade

Posted By on Thu, Feb 5, 2015 at 2:06 PM

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While many of the established restaurants are foundering, some restaurants are still successful thanks to a loyal customer base. Finezza Italian Bistro in Belle Meade has such strong customer support in that one of the restaurant’s longtime patrons bought it last year when it went up for sale, to ensure it would continue to be a place for Nashvillians to enjoy.

The restaurant will celebrate its 25th anniversary with monthly themed specials throughout 2015 leading up to an anniversary party in November. According to new owner, Shelly Bouton Surgener, “Finezza has watched so many families grow up in the restaurant — including my own — and it’s been a part of their birthdays, anniversaries, proms and other special events. We’re excited to throw our own yearlong celebration as a way to say ‘thank you’ for their support over the years.”

For February, there’s a Valentine’s Day themed menu-for-two special. Ongoing specials include free meals for kids on Wednesdays, daily happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m., and half-price bottles of wine on Mondays.

Finezza Italian Bistro
5406 Harding Pike
5 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday,
5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Fifty First Kitchen & Bar Coming Soon to The Nations

Posted By on Wed, Jan 28, 2015 at 11:38 AM

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Final preparations are being made for the opening of Fifty-First Kitchen & Bar, a new restaurant in The Nations (aka "Historic West Town"), with a target date of early March. The restaurant is a partnership between Caroline and Anthony Galzin — veterans of several Chicago and Nashville restaurants as well as their own pop-up restaurants — and former Rumours co-owner Christy Shuff.

The restaurant was originally intended to be another location of Rumours Wine Bar, but evolved as the Galzin’s plans for a restaurant originally meant for Germantown synced with Shuff’s plans in The Nations. Caroline Galzin previously worked with Shuff, who’d been in contact with the Galzins to consult for the new restaurant.

The result — Fifty-First Kitchen & Bar — will be “a seasonal, chef-driven restaurant and bar with a house charcuterie and small plates menu rooted in rustic Italian cuisine.” There will be a focus on sourcing from local producers and plans are to add an on-site garden to supply the kitchen as well.

Sample menu items from executive chef Anthony Galzin noted in the press release included grilled quail (rutabaga, guanciale, pear mostarda, hazelnut), braised beef shortrib (sunchoke risotto, pickled radish, orange) and George’s Bank swordfish (caper-fennel relish, charred citrus).

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Levon Wallace Will Be Chef at Cochon Butcher

Posted By on Wed, Jan 21, 2015 at 10:20 AM

Things are starting to take shape at Cochon Butcher, the project by New Orleans chef Donald Link going into Germantown. They just hired Levon Wallace, formerly of Proof on Main in Louisville, to run it.

From Inside Louisville:

Wallace called his departure bittersweet, but knew he couldn’t pass up the chance to work for Link.

“I’ll be the overseeing chef of the Cochon concept in Nashville while we work on other projects,” Wallace said. He lived and worked in Nashville before coming to Louisville. “Donald’s approach and his lens on Southern culture and Southern foodways is something I am definitely aligned with.”

Wallace is no stranger to Nashville. He was at last summer's Music City Food + Wine festival.

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

On Celebrity Chefs and Nashville

Posted By on Thu, Jan 15, 2015 at 10:56 AM

There's a good Jim Myers piece in the daily today talking about the influx of so-called "celebrity chefs" in Nashville. The tone of the piece is this: Nashville's dining scene has graduated beyond just being dazzled by a name.

I think that's fair. His criticism of Adele's jibes with the Scene's review from September, where I found the food to be uneven and wondered about above-the-marquee chef Jonathan Waxman's role in the restaurant:

What then do we make of Adele's, a project with a big-name chef attached, but one who's not really involved on a day-to-day basis? What culpability does Waxman have in all of this? It's his name that will certainly draw many diners in, aware of his fantastic reputation at Barbuto in New York, his excellent cookbooks and his nomination as a James Beard award finalist. (A nomination in the competitive New York region is like winning anywhere else.)

The chef clearly has an affection for Nashville, but after a couple of signature dishes and a somewhat nondescript style — seasonal, local, simple — what is he adding here beyond the name?

His seasonal style is actually de rigueur at most of the good restaurants in town, as is the emphasis on local ingredients. The recipes themselves are exercises in restraint: roast chicken with a bit of salsa verde on top; grilled fish over grilled vegetables; simple pasta accented with something fresh. Ten years ago, Adele's would have been hailed as a conquering hero. Today? The bar has been raised already.

Myers also mentions Sean Brock and Maneet Chauhan, whose Chauhan Ale & Masala House is reviewed in this week's print edition.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Nashville Restaurants Open Thanksgiving Day

Posted By on Wed, Nov 26, 2014 at 4:02 PM

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While some Bites folks relish obsessing over the perfect method for roasting a turkey at home, others of our food-loving tribe enjoy eating out on Thanksgiving Day.

Last year Jim Ridley compiled an exhaustive list of Thanksgiving restaurant options (everything from Cracker Barrel to Capitol Grille), and it's worth checking out for possible suggestions for this year and phone numbers. (It's always wise to call ahead to confirm a restaurant will be open on the holiday.)

Here are a few more thoughts:

If you're in the mood for fun food but not seasonal fare, Lucky Bamboo China Bistro on Charlotte Pike plans to serve dim sum all day on Thanksgiving. Call 615-760-5930 to reserve a table.

Some people love hockey and popcorn for Thanksgiving, and happily, the Predators take on the Edmonton Oilers at 7 p.m. at Bridgestone Arena. Just across Fifth from the arena, the swanky steakhouse the Palm (615-742-7256) is serving a Thanksgiving meal, with a three-course turkey dinner for $55, plus the a la carte menu if you prefer.

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Bobbie's Dairy Dip Plans to Stay Open Through Winter

Posted By on Mon, Nov 10, 2014 at 10:23 AM

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  • Bobbie's Dairy Dip on Facebook
Bobbie's Dairy Dip — the drive-in ice cream and burger joint that's been operating on Charlotte Avenue since the time when drive-in restaurants first became popular — has announced plans to stay open through winter instead of it usual seasonal closing. The announcement, made on the restaurant's Facebook page indicates that there are plans to add heating to the ordering and seating areas recently enclosed with heavy plastic curtains.

For the first time in Bobbie's over 60-year history, we decided to stay open in winter. There shall be ups and downs in this new adventure. Even we put up curtains, this is the least for our family. We are now searching for proper heating system, considering safety of customers, especially our children. It may take a while. Our inventory control system to keep all foods fresh is ready. Thank you for your patience.

From tomorrow, Monday, 11/10/2014, we move to Winter Business Hours. From Monday thru Sunday, we open at 11am and close at 5pm. Also there will be sudden notices depending on severe coldness. Sorry for any inconveniences. Please stay tuned.

This is good news for Bobbie's fans, although now, I've got some 'splainin' to do to my daughter. I told her just the other day that we couldn't stop at Bobbie's because it's only open during the summer. Guess I'm on the hook for a few more trips before it gets too cold. I have to admit, I recently had a cherry ice cream soda and I could definitely stand to have another soon.

Bobbie's Dairy Dip
5301 Charlotte Ave.
615-463-8088
Winter hours (may vary based on extreme weather): 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The New Yorker Reveals America's Underground Network of Chinese Restaurant Workers

Posted By on Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 7:42 AM

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The New Yorker’s Oct. 13 issue had an interesting story in it, “The Kitchen Network: America’s underground Chinese restaurant workers.” The piece details the journey that many Chinese people make to the United States from restaurant employment agencies in New York’s Chinatown throughout the rest of the country. I read it with great interest because, before moving to Nashville, I’d always been in a community (Memphis) with a large number of Chinese-Americans and new immigrants. Many members of the community came to Memphis from the Mississippi Delta (more here about their history; Lannae Long recently visited Greenville, Miss., so watch her blog for an update) and others have been regularly immigrating to the city because of its established community and The University of Memphis’s renowned Intensive English for Internationals program.

I know all of this now, but I never thought much about it before I moved to Nashville 10 years ago and had trouble finding a Chinese restaurant that wasn’t just standard take-out. In Memphis, folks have a favorite Chinese restaurant like they have a favorite barbecue restaurant. I grew up with Jade East and Formosa and still visit Panda Garden and Mosa, two extensions of the Formosa family of restaurants when I visit. There are plenty of standard take-out restaurants, but also nice sit-down restaurants of the linen napkin and tablecloth sort.

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Melting Pot to Close for Renovations

Posted By on Fri, Oct 24, 2014 at 8:42 AM

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Twenty years ago, downtown Nashville was very different. It was just the beginning of a revitalization process, one of the few that actually took hold (though it moved slowly for the first 10 years). Second Avenue was populated with a number of vacant industrial buildings that are now home to popular restaurants and night spots.

Among those pioneers of the mid-1990s were Mark and Carla Rosenthal, local franchisees of The Melting Pot, who opened their restaurant in the Rhea Building in early 1995. Built in 1887 by Bird S. Rhea as a feed and seed company, the building was later home to to a hardware company, Robert Orr & Company (now just Sysco Nashville, the foodservice provider), and then a woodenware company (source: A Guide to Historic Nashville, Tennessee by James Hoobler), The beautiful building sat abandoned for quite some before the Rosenthals chose it for their location of their restaurant.

In preparation for the upcoming 20th anniversary of the restaurant, it is set to undergo extensive renovations and will close after dinner service this Sunday, Oct. 26, and reopen on Nov. 7. This will be the third renovation in the restaurant's history, one that the owners (with managing partner Demetrius Kelley) promise will ensure that the restaurant continues to be one of the city's most romantic restaurants (as voted in numerous polls of local restaurant-goers, including the Scene's Best of Nashville Readers' Poll). When the restaurant reopens, it will also have the new fall menu available, which includes a lobster cheese fondue and a pumpkin pie white chocolate fondue dessert.

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