Named for the foamy, golden-brown extraction that develops in the filter and encrusts the top of an espresso serving, Crema brings a welcome jolt of caffeine—along with pastries and sandwiches—to the emerging district of Rutledge Hill.
The sophisticated rustication of the room, in which old brick peeks through
newly plastered walls and a wooden banquette traces the rough edges of an
exposed stone foundation, mirrors the style of food that Wilson, an alumnus of
Margot Cafe, delivers. Along a chef’s bar that divides the main dining area from the open kitchen, bowls of whole garlic, bell peppers and citrus fruits hint at the fresh flavors that weave in and out of dishes such as catfish with cornmeal crust, mint, garlic, orange and chili and sausage with lemon, red onion and parsley. Massive hunks of cheese sit unabashedly on the bar, ready to be shaved or grated across the top of soups, salads and pastas. In its decor, layout and
cuisine, City House celebrates simple, beautiful ingredients.
The revamped Capitol Grille in the nearly century-old Hermitage Hotel pays homage to the South by incorporating locally grown and regional products into rich, earthy dishes like pork chop with sweet potatoes, black-eyed pea hash and creamy Anson Mill grits. Have an after-dinner drink in the adjoining Oak Bar, and be sure to check out the famous mens room, no matter what gender you are.
Everyone has their favorite meat-and-three, but Arnold’s probably tops more lists, as evidenced by the cross-section of Nashvillians who line up daily for the fried green tomatoes, peppery roast beef, turnip greens, bread pudding and chocolate pie. Presided over for two decades by the curmudgeonly but lovable Jack Arnold and his luscious, vivacious wife Rose, the dining room has fewer tables than customers, so be prepared to share. Son Kahlil finally talked his parents into bringing back breakfast, and downtown commuters start pulling into the graveled lot just after dawn, lured by the sizzle of bacon and smell of biscuits. The restaurant used to be cash-only, but it has recently begun accepting Visa and MasterCard and opened for breakfast in fall 2006.