I have some issues with Burger Up's fries. The heat gets trapped in that metal container, the fries end up soggy, and in the case of the truffle fries, the oil ends up all pooling and concentrated at the bottom. The presentation's nice though.
Hot Diggity Dogs probably gets my vote for straightforward non-flavored fries, but the Cajun fries at Hoss' Loaded Burgers deserves mention. Kinda like the fries at 5 Guys, except crisper and, I think, more flavorful.
And since Steve H brought them up, the sweet potato fries at Gabby's aren't just the best in the city, I would put them up against any sweet potato fries anywhere. I unfortunately can't assess their regular fries since, quite honestly, I can never order anything other than the sweet potato ones.
@ linda, I saw that there was a lot going on in the At the Table building and heard rumor that it had closed, but I had hoped it wasn't true since I've heard nothing about its closing on this blog or any other (and it was a Best of Nashville winner this year and all). Is that definitely the case? Such a shame if so. That fried catfish was by far my favorite in town, and it was just an all around excellent meat & three.
On another note, with Clean Plate Club moving, they've posted on the 12South Neighborhood Association Facebook page that they are leasing the building to a "well seasoned Restauranteur" who will be opening a "fabulous boutique restaurant" in the space. Anyone have any idea who or what that might be?
I gotta second that Mayan Café rec. Nothing quite like it in Nashville (that I'm aware of). Huevos motuleños were incredible. Seviche was phenomenal when my wife and I went. Fresh fish, inventive presentations. Harvest is also excellent and was both a Beard Semifinalist last year (New Restaurant) and on Bon Appetit's top 50 new restaurants list.
Chris, as far as the app goes, have you used Chef's Feed at all? If so, how does this one compare?
Sure it's reasonable. I don't think it's necessarily "it city" backlash targeted at Nashville, but rather recognizing the fact that when it comes to awards like this, restaurants in big cities like New York do risk missing out just because they're more at risk of being overshadowed within their own city, whereas restaurants in smaller towns have an easier time sticking out. Personally, I love it, since I use these lists as part of my trip planning when traveling, but I can understand why he'd be worried that the true "best" are being left off. I guess it's kinda like an unofficial version of the every team gets an all-star rule in pro baseball.
Granted, it is probably a bit presumptuous for Pete to insinuate that New York restaurants might have been unnecessarily snubbed without having tried the competition (and he certainly has a bias). Maybe someone like Andrew Knowlton could weigh in.
@ Jack, I think Ben was referring to Juanita's comment about the price discussion (though she didn't directly say that it should be off-limits). Also, beef isn't much of a factor when it comes to ramen, so probably no worries about a pun there. I figured I'd throw my own 2 cents into the mix, especially since after attending two of the Otaku pop-ups (Stone Fox and one of the Greenhouse ones), I've had quite a bit of discussion with my wife on this subject.
While I would disagree with Ben on his comments about this blog (I think you guys do an excellent job covering lower end establishments, especially on The Road and First Bite), I think he has some very valid points about the pricing of this ramen. I think part of where a lot of the anti-$13 ramen people lose some credibility is when they say it's "$13 for a bowl of noodles." Obviously if you know ramen, and I like to think I know a little on this subject, you know it most certainly is more than "a bowl of noodles." I'm not sure, though, that using New York City or Momofuku as price comparisons for Nashville or Otaku South are really appropriate though. Not a knock on Sarah, and I should point out now that I think she makes very good ramen.
Maybe a good comparison would be Hapa Ramen in San Francisco. It started as a sort-of pop-up (a stand twice a week at the Ferry Building Farmer's Market) from nopa sous chef Richie Nakano. The ideas and sourcing behind it are very similar to what Sarah discusses in her comment (locally sourced rather than frozen, etc). For the slow-cooked pork ramen with a slow-cooked egg, it's $10. Not cheap, but cheaper. My wife and I split a bowl last time we were in SF and were stuffed. After we each had our own tonkatsu ramen at the Greenhouse, after waiting 1+ hours and paying $26, we went home and had a full meal (our ramen was about 1/4 of the paper bowl, with barely enough broth to cover the noodles). And lest you think this is a comparison based solely on quantity, Ed Levine of Serious Eats did call Hapa Ramen his 2nd favorite bowl in the country (and, for what it's worth, it's both mine and my wife's favorite).
The thing is, none of this is going to have an impact on the prices. Any time anyone has a monopoly on something and there's a demand, than the price becomes a debatable, but largely moot point (and since she's serving far and away the best ramen in town, I would argue that she does have a monopoly). On a trip to Amsterdam last year, my poor sick wife wanted nothing more than soup, so we settled for an 18 Euro bowl of pho that didn't compare to Kien Giang's at a restaurant that's quite popular because it's the only pho in town. I have no idea what it costs Sarah to run her operation (though I find it hard to imagine locally sourcing costs that much more than buying frozen). All I know is that neither I nor my wife (an LA native who's much harder on Otaku than I am, I might add), are likely to buy again at this price-point for what we're getting. For now, I'll stick to the places on the west coast when we go to visit friends and family.
Here's my question though: now that Sarah has introduced a city to quality ramen, what happens when people start seeking it out when they visit cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Bellevue, WA, and Vancouver, Canada, finding out that they can get really good quality (and, yes, sometimes better, sometimes worse) ramen for a lower price?
Third long-listing for Tyler Brown, almost certain it's #5 for Tandy
I virtually never use Yelp or anything similar, even when traveling. Chowhound is a much more useful website, in my opinion, since you can quickly familiarize yourself with trustworthy commenters. Besides that I generally use blogs (when existent...it seems some cities have a larger blogging community than others). I find sites like Eater and Serious Eats to be useful in cities covered regularly by them. Overall, I think the only real trustworthy "review" sites or resources are the ones where you can identify those whose opinions you can trust.
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