Kien Giang introduced Nashville to Vietnamese food back in the early ‘90s. Though several more Vietnamese restaurants have since opened in the same area, it remains among the most popular among Southeast Asian immigrants and Americans alike, thanks to the struggling-musician-friendly prices, the signature Vietnamese pancake banh xeo, the cac mon man spicy dishes, and the thick, sweet Vietnamese coffee.
Kelly Jones, a longtime motorcycle man, established his cred as a leader of the pack at his popular midtown tavern Broadway Brewhouse, which backs up to Mojo Grill, where pepper-head Ed Arace cooks up the best damned bar grub in town. Housed in the former Pig & Pie building on the far west side of town, Jones’ second Brewhouse is the perfect watering hole for bikers coming off an afternoon ride down winding River Road. But you don’t have to be a biker to enjoy Brewhouse West; come twice, and the bartender and waitresses will treat you like a regular. That’s not dissimilar from the original on Broadway, but the one on Charlotte is at least three times as big, with seating indoors and out. Just like at the Broadway branch, a customer would be hard-pressed to order a beer Brewhouse doesn’t carry—and beer is the best beverage to complement Arace’s menu, much of which originated in town. House specialties include Mojo’s signature jerk chicken, a juicy roasted half-chicken marinated in island spices; and Santa Fe chicken, seasoned Southwestern style, with big chunks pulled from the bone and served with red beans and rice.
Regardless of the menu (standard bar fare with a few standouts including shrimp kebabs and oysters on the half-shell), Blue Moon Lagoon claims what might be the best restaurant location in Nashville. Nestled just off the main waterway of the Cumberland River, at Rock Harbor marina, the floating dining room has a decor of
perfectly blue Tennessee skies (on a good day), gentle breezes, and an ebullient
soundtrack of saluting boat horns, quacking ducks and a cascading
waterfall across the cove. With such a magnetic ambiance, it's no wonder there's usually a wait. There are no reservations, so come thirsty and grab a bar stool.