Named for departed founding chef Hide Watanabe, the restaurant is the third in Matt Charette's burgeoning East Nashville dining empire, which includes Batter'd & Fried and Beyond the Edge. Located in the corner unit of Riverside Village, Watanabe serves a roster of sushi and Korean and Thai dishes. The sleek 45-foot bar of stained concrete doubles as a watering hole and a sushi counter.
Housed in the legendary Hap Townes building near Greer Stadium, Gabby's is everything that's good about a diveintimate, affordable, unpretentiousyet its spanking clean. A fresh coat of pastel yellow and sage green paint, a pristine drop ceiling sans the years of grease stains that loom over many grill rooms, and a sunny side patio give Gabbys a welcome brightness instead of that friends-in-low-places pall of so many places of its ilk. While no place will ever fill the hole in our heart left when the venerable Vandyland lunch counter shut down, Gabby's comes the closest so far. The terse menu includes a half-dozen burgersadorned with cheese, chili, caramelized onions, barbecue sauce and bacon. The Other Things menu includes a chicken burger, veggie burger, hot dogs, chili and grilled cheese. It all looks good, but it's hard to tear yourself away from the $5 burger on a Charpier's roll and the homemade sweet potatoes fries with a hint of cinnamon, clove and sugar. — Carrington Fox