Sunday, January 18, 2009

Copper Kettle-Downtown

Nashville Restaurants and Food
Copper Kettle-Downtown
94 Peabody Street

You can never tell what will happen when a really good restaurant decides to open a new location. Will the quality be matched? Will the attention to detail be the same? We’re happy to report that the new Copper Kettle location downtown does the original proud.

The building has been home to several restaurants and bars in the past few years, most notably Sole Mio, which moved closer to downtown. It’s perched on a hill looking out over SoBro and the river. The windows offer great city views and the deck is one of the best in town. The updating brings an informal, lively d├ęcor which, while not as homey as the original Copper Kettle location near Lipscomb University, is certainly comfortable. And comfort is what the Copper Kettle is all about. You hit the cafeteria style line and then quickly lose any notions of cafeteria food. There are a couple of dozen items laid out for the meat and three. They are presented with style in shiny trays, under bright lights. The servers offer big smiles when they ask what you would like. Choosing is not easy. There are three or four meat dishes and up to 14 sides to choose from each day. Everything looks bright and appealing. Even the meatloaf is gorgeous under a vivid red blanket of sauce.

You don’t have to do the meat and three, there are plenty of other menu items. Sandwiches run from a Mediterranean grilled chicken and Tuscan eggplant to Cajun prime rib. Wraps include a couple of vegetarian options and unusual combinations like turkey and dressing. There are several salads to choose from including sesame seared ahi tuna and Caribbean jerk mahi mahi.

But back to that cafeteria line: you can make quite a meal of the combinations available, and it would be shame to miss out on what is some of the better meat and three in Nashville. The fried chicken is exceptional. The crispy breading is everything you want: savory, salty, peppery. Moist juice drips off your fork and there is just a bare touch of grease under the skin for fantastic flavor. The jalapeno cheese grits combine comfort with a little pop. The green bean casserole has a tasty, super-thin onion string topping. The sides don’t stop at traditional meat and three. The tomato mozzarella salad features grilled veggies, marinated mozzarella balls, sun dried and cherry tomatoes. It has a delicate olive oil and vinegar dressing, which is so light you can still taste the pleasant smokiness of the vegetables. Not your usual meat and three offering, and certainly welcome on the plate. About the only average item was the cakey corn bread which seemed a bit dry and rather tame.

Dinner is a much mellower scene, compared to a bustling lunch. Some of the items just before closing seemed to have been out a while and were not super hot, which is understandable. The pork loin was still reasonably moist and accompanied by a sweet and sour sauce with a hint of apple. Mashed potatoes were sticky and reasonably tasty.

The Sunday brunch at the Copper Kettle Green Hills location is legendary and it was here we worried most about the quality making the trip across town. Well, no worries. The Sobro restaurant joins the original as one of the finest Sunday brunches around. The lineup is expansive: veggies, cheeses, salads, meats and breakfast favorites. You can sample a comforting hash brown casserole and then taste fresh greens topped with a raspberry sauce and fried cream cheese balls. They make eggs Benedict with croissant instead of English muffins, which is both easier to cut and melds well with the eggs. You can find three separate versions of brie en croute, including one with maple syrup soaked walnuts on the side. There’s smoky salmon, cheese biscuits, herb cheese, roasted veggies…we could go on and on. Meat is well represented with an excellent bourbon glazed turkey. The only downside for the entire buffet was a roast beef that proved a bit chewy. It may have been that particular cut. You can finish with more desert options than your brain may be able to handle: banana pudding, chocolate covered cream puffs and tongue tantalizing raspberry bread pudding, with a Jack Daniels sauce. It is well worth every bit of the $16.25 per person.

Veggie Eater: I was not terribly impressed with the dinner meal we had there. I had various veggie side items and they all seemed to be on the verge of disintegrating. The staff was able to point out all things veggie and warn me about things that appeared safe, but were not (the mashed potatoes apparently have chicken stock in them). Perhaps our own fault since we visited at the end of the night. I was much happier with the brunch. It is, as I remembered it from the other location, spectacular. Great roasted veggies, all sorts of pickled veggies, great cheeses, salad, deli items, etc. Many rolls, Danishes, and sweets. I am extremely happy to report that the hash brown casserole does not have any meat based soup (generally cream of chicken) in it and is veggie friendly; that is a rare find in the Nashville area. The chefs are happy to make veggie eggs Benedict (they ditch the Canadian ham). The staff is attentive and happy to answer questions . The original location has been my favorite Sunday brunch and I am glad the new spot did not let me down.

Meat Eater: I think the issues with the dinner visit had to do with the hour we arrived. The Copper Kettle SoBro puts out a great lunch spread and a truly amazing Sunday brunch. The lunch visit was $9.50 with tax, tip and a drink.
Copper Kettle Sobro on Urbanspoon


Lannae said...

Thanks for the update on CK downtown. I have noticed that at the original CK too, that late in their day, the veggies have been warmed a bit too long, and the salads are a bit wilty too. But, earlier in the day, I really like CK's veggies. I will have to try their new location.

Anonymous said...

I sometimes select items off the hot bar, especially when they have meatloaf or pot roast, both of with are awesome. But most often I get the
Ahi Tuna Wrap which is phenomenal 100% of the time. Check it out if you like sushi. Their full menu can be viewed at to give you a quick link.