Seared scallops and foie gras plated with orange-ginger balsamic vinaigrette might sound more at home in a white-tablecloth eatery than at a burger joint with communal tables with backless stools, but Burger Up flips that kind of entrenched dining protocol on its end — then grills it to perfection and serves it on a fresh bun loaded with local ingredients. The succinct, eclectic menu is anchored by burgers made from local Triple L Ranch beef and includes tuna tartar, salads, she-crab soup and a roster of creative cocktails. Served in a modern-rustic room in the bustling 12South neighborhood, Burger Up’s repertoire would be at home in the city’s most formal restaurants – but where would be the fun in that?
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.
Situated in a refurbished Victorian home, Monell’s is not your typical meat-and-three, but more like Sunday dinner at Grandma’s house. It’s served the same way, around communal tables with big bowls of fried chicken, pot roast, mashed potatoes, squash casserole, green beans, yeast rolls and corn bread, all passed family-style. Wash it down with pitchers of sweet tea and finish up with a slice of fudge pie.
Bringing Northern Indian flavor to the West End corridor, Bombay Palace has made a splash with spicy and fresh staples including chicken tikka masala and boti kabob masala. With its elegant chandelier and gracious servers in black and white, Bombay Palace polished a rough-hewn midtown spot into a casually refined and affordable culinary gem.