The pop-up at The Nashville Farmers’ Market is a bit different from the others, though. It's fun, family-friendly and casual — no reservations or tickets required — with dinner served in the food court area of the Market House. Even better, there’s a vegetarian ramen option in addition to the chicken/pork ramen as well as small plates. See what's on the menu for tonight:
There is such a vibrant food scene on this street, and in the year I’ve covered it things have only gotten better, brighter, more interesting. Hell, even the chain restaurants are stepping up their game — lookin’ good Captain D! — which makes me think there are only wonderful things in the neighborhood’s future. With each new wave of immigrants — and it should be noted, the more recent influx of the young and hip — the neighborhood gets a new coat of paint and a broader palette, and I’m envious of the folks that will be right in the thick of that transformation. That said, my in-laws are still here, so you can expect to find me cruising the strip for new spots around all the major holidays. You can take the boy off The Road, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be making pilgrimages back.
And with that I would like to thank all of you, the readers, for taking the journey down Nolensville Pike with me, for all your comments, criticisms and dining tips. I know that I generally skewed towards positivity in this column, and that didn’t always sit well with folks, but I want you to understand that the positivity is solely rooted in my love for other cultures and the independent business folks who toil long and hard to keep us fed. If I had decided to review nothing but corporate chains I would have been a seething ball of hatred at every turn, and frankly, that’s no fun. (Well, it is for a little while, but ... ) Needless to say, the very premise of the column made me very happy, and I apologize if folks wanted more hard-hitting reviews.
I’d also like to thank my editors for supporting this wacky plan and my wife for letting me drag her into parts unknown every week. But if you enjoy my writing, you’ll still be able to find me over in the music section — music is more telecommuter friendly, food not so much. All in all though, this has been a wonderful experience and I really appreciate all the opportunities that the town, this neighborhood and this blog have afforded me over the years. And now if you could all say a little prayer for me in hopes that I can actually find a decent pupusa in Massachusetts.
This fact can make it tough on a restaurant to be able to serve an evening meal, especially if they might be a block or so off the beaten track of Thompson Lane. Baja Burrito and Yellow Porch seem to keep their parking lots and dining rooms pretty full during the dinner hour, but they are very visible to passing traffic. During rush hour, cars line up for blocks along Bransford Avenue to make a turn on Thompson on their commute home, but apparently these folks don't notice a perfectly good place to wait out traffic. And I'm not talking about shopping for suet at Wild Birds Unlimited.
When I first told you about Patrick's Bistreaux, the restaurant was only serving lunch with a fairly limited menu of po'boys, jambalaya and etoufee. Since then, owner Patrick Barber has expanded the menu considerably and begun to offer a full-service dinner Tuesday through Saturday.
The mini-muffalettas are back on the menu and are a clear choice from the appetizer list. The crawfish cake is also a nice pick if you don't mind sweet pepper jelly, but I think my favorite of all is Barber's take on barbecue shrimp. it's so spicy and buttery, the real secret (if you're sharing the plate) is to realize that there is one chunk of crispy French bread served on top of the shrimp, but there's also another piece underneath sopping up all that delicious garlic-laden juice. Let your dining companion serve themselves first and go for the wonderful butter sponge on the bottom. Or better yet, ask for some extra bread.
The jambalaya and etoufee are still among the best you'll find north of Bayou Lafourche, even if a certain cranky chap claims that Nashvillians don't know from Cajun and Creole food. For vegetarians, there is a nice artichoke ravioli dish, and smoke lovers might appreciate the pork loin. For my money, the best entree at Patrick's is his own invention, which he calls Chicken Breaux Bridge. The chicken is sauteed in a rich butter sauce with crawfish, andouille sausage, peppers, garlic and tomatoes, and then served over dirty rice. It's pretty much my "every time" order at the Bistreaux.
I’ve been saving this one for a, well, un-special occasion. And the occasion? We needed dinner AND paper towels, so a trip down to Big Lots and a stop at Midori Japanese & Korean Restaurant was in order. If Seoul Garden is the fancy Korean spot that we go to when it’s time to celebrate big victories, Midori is where my wife and I go to celebrate little victories, like making it through another workweek. It’s an unassuming spot with a really friendly staff and a low-key atmosphere, a little gem tucked into a strip mall-within-a-strip mall.
Of course, there's no guarantee that E Hur Wei will be open on Dec. 25, or even still be in business by then — especially if the wrinkles don't get ironed out and the crowds don't start showing up. But assuming Tang & Co. get the kinks worked out and start consistently offering the cuisine and service they are capable of, E Hur Wei could be a favorite casual dining spot, at the holidays and throughout the year.
Have you had a chance to check out the new Bellevue locale? Let us know below.
The prix fixe menu is subject to change. Last night's edition featured a choice of two starter salads, three entrées and two desserts. We tried one of each salad — mixed greens and frisée aux lardons. The greens were good, but the frisée was wonderful, with a sous vide poached egg and divine lardons of house-cured bacon.
For her entrée, Wendy had poisson en papillote, aka fish in parchment paper. This rendition featured wild-caught Atlantic cod with tomato fondue, white wine and mushroom duxelle. As our server cut open the parchment, a lovely aromatic cloud puffed out. The fish was light and flaky, the accompanying vegetables simple but tasty.
The kids who run the @CapitolGrille Twitter feed (worth a follow) posted this menu from 1921.
In honor of the opening of #TheGreatGatsby tonight, check out one of our @hermitagehotel menus from September, 1921. facebook.com/#!/photo.php?f…
— Capitol Grille (@capitolgrille) May 10, 2013
Here it is ...
Things to love: fresh shrimp cocktail for 60 cents; a "Hermitage" parfait; grilled "Homer squab"; a big selection of "ices'; new spinach for 35 cents, 40 cents with an egg
There's a lot of items you don't see on menus anymore — baked apple chantilly and bar-de-luc jelly, fatted chicken liver loaf and Nesselrode pudding.
And don't forget a bottle of half cream/half milk for 30 cents. Only 35 cents if you want crackers with it!
But it also means that discussing the food on The Road dominates a lot of my conversations with folks. And since most of my socializing is done in many of Nashville's fine drinking establishments and most of my blathering is lost to that wily devil-hooch, I figured I'd put together this handy list of my favorite spots so far on The Road. Ya know, for convenience.
Print this bad boy out and tape it to your dashboard. Now let's hit The Road...
Asparagus is often way overcooked for my taste, but the asparagus stack (garnished with feta, but minus the bacon in my case) was perfectly cooked and still bright green and delicious when it arrived at my table. If you’re a real purist, though, simply ask for them to skip the toppings. The flatbread features asparagus, but also has mushrooms, Parmesan cheese and bacon, which can also easily be omitted. It’s a true flatbread and really very tasty. The highlight of my visit, though was the Garden Pesto Saute, which has a lemon and sweet basil pesto that is the perfect complement for the asparagus. And the fusilli was some of the best gluten-free pasta I’ve had. You wouldn’t know it’s GF by its taste and texture. The perfect accompaniment to all this asparagussy goodness was a Dasani Sensations Lime, one of the more than 120 flavors available in the restaurant’s Coca-Cola Freestyle drink machine. It was actually better than the Fanta Lime I had first.
The menu at Noodles & Company helpfully includes information about fat and calories by portion and whether or not an item is vegetarian (I love not having to ask). The vast majority of the base menu is vegetarian (many are even vegan) with options to add proteins such as pork (cooked sous vide with herbs) and organic tofu.
And though it’s not quite obvious from the name, Noodles & Company also serves salads, sandwiches and soups. Noodle dishes, though, are the main event, and many dishes can be served with rice noodles or whole-grain linguine. Really, just about everything on the menu (except the soups) is customizable in some way to accommodate dietary requests/restrictions. And everything but the sandwiches can even be ordered in two different sizes. Smaller sizes for smaller people (toddlers!) or two small sizes for the indecisive. I like these options.
There are two Noodles & Company locations in the area. Stop by and try them out. If asparagus isn’t your thing, I can also personally recommend the Truffle Mac and the Japanese Pan Noodles. There’s really something for everyone.
Noodles & Company
2116 Green Hills Village Drive
995 Meridian Blvd
Here’s the deal: For just $15 (per person), you get tastings of four wines (full glasses, friends) plus small plates specially prepared to go with the evening’s lineup of wines. The wine selections generally have a theme, too. For example, we went to a tasting a couple of weeks ago that featured two wines each from two Washington state wineries (Hedges Family Estate and Gordon Estate). The first appetizer was a spring salad with strawberries, goat cheese and walnuts. The second was a butternut squash ravioli with pancetta cream sauce (I had the sage butter sauce instead). In addition to all that, when you stay for dinner, you get 20 percent off your meal. See what I mean about a deal?
Generally speaking, when you attend one of their tastings, you sit in the bar area. The first one I went to quite a while back was rather quiet, but their events have gained quite a bit of popularity, so the atmosphere in the bar during this last tasting was fairly lively. It's also not a particularly kid-friendly event. However, when I lamented via Twitter about having no babysitter, the official Amerigo Twitterer helpfully suggested that we sit at a booth in the dining room instead. That way, we could enjoy the wine tasting and the little one could color or play. What? Have my wine and toddler, too? Why, thank you very much! (I assume many parents would agree that wine and children have a sort of chicken/egg thing going). So that’s what we did. The little one happily ate a pizza and played with crayons while we had our wine tasting and a couple of extra appetizers. We also ordered some gelato (Bravo Gelato!) which made for a happy kid and even happier parents. We all had a lovely time.
The wine tastings take place at both the Cool Springs and Nashville/West End locations and are not an organized, group event. As in, show up when you can (starting at 5:30 p.m. in Cool Springs and 6 p.m. in Nashville) and have the tasting at your leisure. Details about the tastings are available on their website, but the best idea (in order to make plans, particularly if you prefer not to attend with your kids) is to get on their mailing list. This month’s tasting is happening this week — tomorrow night in Cool Springs and Wednesday night in Nashville — and features wines from the Francis Ford Coppola winery.
@CLC - I really wish your classes weren't always scheduled for Wed nights. I've discovered…
OK Brooky. We waited until 12/7 to try this place out. Sigh... Ordered xiaolongbao and…
I can't believe Mas taco's por favor isn't listed, there by far the best taco's…
We spent 4 nights at Blackberry Farm back in October and are partaking in this…
Just like modern country music and TV shows like Nashville, the beauty of everything truly…