Nashville Restaurants and Food
1716 Charlotte Ave.
There are several bustling Greek-Mediterranean lunch spots in Nashville. They specialize in tasty food and fast service. Fattoush Café is certainly all of that, and while it’s not the best Mediterranean in town, it rises above many. It’s in an unassuming storefront just west of downtown. At 11:30 a.m. there are 25 customers in line and just two hard working people behind the counter. Luckily they buzz through cooking, plating and cash register, and still manage a smile for the regulars. The knives are out and the meat is flying off the Gyro broilers and then on to the grill for a quick chop and sizzle. At 11:45 the line is up to 40 people. The food starts to slow, but the grins are still there, and the staff plows through the lunch rush like restaurant warriors.
We’ve been to Fattoush a few times in the evening, when it’s pretty slow and laid back, so it was good to see the reality of lunch. I order the Fattoush sampler and take my place for a wait. This probably wasn’t such a great idea considering the crowd and the complexity of the sampler. I waited about 15 minutes. I didn’t mind. It was kind of fun watching them work through the crunch.
The Falafel is very good: a crunchy fry on the outside and moist chickpea inside. The Stuffed Grape Leaves are less successful. You hope for a firm chew to dolma. A bite reveals a mushy and non-descript rice mixture, which on the menu includes oregano and lemon, but not so much on the plate. I noticed the Kibbeh Maquliah coming straight out of the freezer and into the fryer, so I was a bit worried. It came out a reasonably crisp cracked wheat shell with a mild meat and onion filling. The Hummus is tangy and despite the rush they still manage to put on a few garnish details. They also take care to serve up fluffy Turmeric rice and fresh, hot Pita.
The rest of the Fattoush menu includes the Middle Eastern version of the Gyro: the beef Shawerma. They have beef and lamb and chicken Gyros; Meltizanes Mousaka, which is eggplant and ground beef in a tomato sauce; lentil soup; and Baba Ghannouj. A couple of off the wall options include Fajitas and Cheese Sticks, although I suppose the cheese stick is Mediterranean in some respect.
I’m not sure if the Baklava usually comes with the Fattoush sampler or if they gave me a slice out of pity for my wait. Either way it was a sweet way to end a lunch. It’s a little heavy on the honey, which saturates the phyllo. Still a nice touch and overall a good meal that hit the spot.
I paid $12.43 with tax and a drink, although most of the items are in the $7 to $8 range.