Thursday, November 1, 2007

Ríchard’s Louisiana Café

Nashville Restaurants and Food

Ríchard’s Louisiana Café
4420 Whites Creek Pike
Whites Creek

A songwriter/chef writes tunes and cooks up authentic Cajun food, in a cozy little restaurant that also serves as a jam session H-Q. Only in Nashville. And luckily, the food is top notch to boot. It’s the work of someone who believes in fresh ingredients, a careful touch in the kitchen and plenty of New Orleans flavor.

Richard Trest opened Ríchard’s Louisiana Café, in the Whites Creek storefront known for housing the Star Café, in 2005. The Star Café was a great meat and three with music on the weekends. Many of us in the area were sad to see it move away. Trest manages to capture the warm, fun feel of the Star Café, albeit now combined with a big serving of New Orleans. You can find Trest strumming away on the guitar or playing along with the band, when he’s not manning the burners. We made a recent brunch visit and found him playing backup for a young girl who was singing along to an Uncle Kracker song. You can’t beat that for a pleasant way to open your Sunday.

Okay, let’s get to the food. We started with an order of light, puffy Beignets, which come covered in a blizzard of powdered sugar. Combined with a cup of coffee and you feel like you’re sitting on Decatur Street.

Red Beans and Rice are a good example of what Ríchard’s does right. It’s a rich thick combo where each flavor stands out and also manages to merge nicely. It’s not runny, and we tend to prefer this to the common version that belongs in a soup bowl. The Jambalaya is the same way: it features fluffy rice, chicken, sausage and peppers. There isn’t the gummy, goopy consistency you often find. Get the fried potatoes on the side. They’re like thick cut potato chips, homemade, meaty and tender insider.

Like most New Orleans cooking you decide what you want to do with the heat. Ríchard’s keeps Chipotle Tabasco on the table. A little smoke and a little heat go perfectly with Cajun cuisine. We’ve been to Ríchard’s a number of times. The Po-Boys are good and Trest makes sure to have the right bread for the job. A steak can come heavily seasoned, depending on the style, so make sure you ask how it will be done. Everything we have had has been cooked with great care and style.

Veggie eater: I was extremely happy with my meal; I had a make your own omelet with mushrooms, pico de gallo, and cheese; fillings were generous and eggs were fluffy. I had the fried potatoes as a side; little hand cut disks with skins on with a Cajun seasoning sprinkled lightly on top. On another note, during an evening meal (many moons ago), the dinner salad was nearly inedible; plain iceberg, bad tomatoes and even worse bottled blue cheese dressing. I brought this to the manager’s attention at the time and was informed he didn’t like blue cheese dressing. I informed him that I did and if they were going to have salad and blue cheese available on the menu, they should ensure quality as it reflected poorly on the otherwise good food. I’ve never had another salad there. Perhaps they’ve improved? If so, someone let me know. Salad is my most favorite part of any meal and I hate to be disappointed when it sucks. What can I say; I’m Italian and hold a grudge….

Meat eater: Whites Creek is turning into a little funky community with the addition of Earthman’s General Store down the street. The farmers market in the summer is mostly organic and features all local growers. Ríchard’s fits in well with this vibe. It’s only 15 minutes from Nashville and well worth the trip.
Update 9/4/09
A little guitar and some cool songs make a great accompaniment to a meal. Richard's continues to put out some high quality food with that pleasant atmosphere. We ordered a bunch of items and everyone sampled. The Muffuletta is made Central Grocery style. The authentic bread and quality ingredients stand out. We could have used a little more olive oil to put it over the top it was a tad dry; still a nice sandwich. They have a great batter for frying at Richard's and the fried mushrooms are a real treat. The fried pickles are pretty salty, though. We did notice the sodium seemed to be calmed down on the steak. Jambalaya received rave reviews from the visitors we had with us.
Veggie Eater: I had the Pico de Gallo potatoes. The potatoes themselves were discs, cut about a ¼ inch thick; they appear to have been roasted instead of fried. They were served with a homemade Pico de Gallo. The Pico was not strongly flavored as what I am used to, but the acidity of the Pico was a great pair with the potatoes. My potatoes were not hot, which annoyed me a bit at the start, but once I settled into an eating rhythm, I actually enjoyed them. The food is not spectacular here, but the ambience is and fun was had by all.
Richard's Cafe on Urbanspoon


Lannae said...

Ya know, at some point, we will run into each other dining out. Most of the time you have posted about a place that I have been wanting to go and have been talking about for a long time. Since May, I have been wanting to try Ri'chards. Thanks for you post, and I want to go more now! And about the salad, I am not gonna do it, that is a pet peeve of mine to have a bad salad.

Eric and Katie said...

I think we'll have to try a salad next time just to see if it has changed for the better. The brunch is fun...but you have to arrive after noon. We were there at 11am and it was pretty dead. Friday night when musicians are playing is probably our favorite.

Lesley said...

Thanks for the link. I just realized I didn't have you linked, but I've been reading your posts for quite sometime through my reader. D'oh! I've fixed it now. I certainly appreciate the veggie reviews (when applicable)!

Eric and Katie said...

Thanks Lesley. Yes, sometimes the meat eater heads out on a barbecue/meat and three trip on his own. Although, I must admit Katie is great about joining me for some of those adventures.

Anonymous said...

This place is so terrible! The food is disgusting! The waitress is rude! The cook is slow, and will even participate in playing music even when he has several orders up! They obviously only care about having a good time instead of actually serving people!

Eric and Katie said...

we've had a few service issues in the past...they are certainly laid back, but that's not that different from New Orleans quite frankly. We never had food issues like the ones you describe. It must have been a bad night. We still go back to Richard's and have good food and a good time.

EdKing said...

I wish my wife wasn't allergic to bell peppers...she won't even let me RIDE BY this place!