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.
With approximately one-half its seating outdoors, bordering an aquatic thoroughfare of industrial barges, pontoon boats, yachts and paddleboards, this waterfront restaurant at Rock Harbor Marina is more of a feast for the senses than the average dining room. There’s plenty to choose from on a menu loaded with po’boys, burgers, coconut fried shrimp and housemade banana pudding, but the main course here is a sunny setting and scenic views of the Cumberland River drifting by in the distance.