A hybrid of every restaurant that industry veteran Randy Rayburn has ever worked in or run (and there have been plenty). A legendary taskmaster with eyes in the back of his head, Rayburn insists on a 150-percent effort from every member of his staff, and it shows. Like any successful restaurateur, he is always there, and nothing escapes his attention. Under Executive Chef Brian Uhl’s discerning eye, the California-influenced cuisine has remained contemporary and fresh, with periodic updates on the set fare and daily specials that lure diners off menu. For 15 consecutive years, Sunset Grill has received Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence, getting the nod for its 65 wines by the glass and 500 by the bottle. Wine classes are offered in a private room on Wednesday nights.
In the quaintly crooked dining room, book-lined shelves and local art adorn
exposed-brick walls, the chairs dont match, and founders Marcia and Craig
Jervis, who live across the street, consistently deliver a seasonal menu dotted with their signature mustard-encrusted lamb, Mad Platter pasta and Chocolate
Elvis. At 20 years old, Mad Platters five-course dinner remains one of the best deals in town. Like a
word problem on a low-level algebra test, the menu invites you to pick any soup, appetizer, salad, entrée and dessert for the price of the entrée plus $20. Whatever you do, don't miss the bananas Foster.
Chris Lowry and Jay Luther’s neighborhood bistro is elegant and sophisticated, with a minimalist, contemporary-styled room framing a spectacular view of downtown. Germantown Cafe adheres to the promise of straightforward dining in the style of classic bistros, with unpretentious, well-prepared food, sturdy white china, thick cotton linens, solid stemware and cutlery with a weighty heft. Perusing the selection of entrées is pleasantly effortless, with just 10 to consider, including a green plate for vegetarians. Meat and potatoes is the starting premise of several dishes, with the supremely succulent mustard-herb-crusted rack of lamb leading the way. The preparation of the day’s catch changes every night, but the coconut curry salmon filet perched atop a sphere of creamy risotto is a dependably delicious staple. The menu is tweaked as the seasons change (it is within walking distance of the Farmers Market). A recent expansion moved the bar to a separate room with a small lounge, and added more dining room seating on an elevated platform, the better to see the Nashville skyline.