Nashville Restaurants and Food
1805 21st Ave. South
Update 9/14: Boscos has closed.
Consistency is a good thing, if of course the constant is great food. We’ve shied away from talking about Boscos in Nashville, mainly because we focus on independent restaurants. Boscos is a small brewpub chain based out of Memphis. They have four locations: Nashville, Franklin, Memphis and Little Rock, Arkansas. Well, we can’t let that keep us quiet any longer. We enjoy Boscos for both the beer and the food, and it is high time we talked about it.
The Hillsboro Village location does get busy. On a weekend night it is often packed with Vandy students out for a treat with mom and dad, and couples on a casual date. It’s an energetic bistro style space: heavy on the brass, exposed pipes and spotlights. It’s loud enough to be fun and not too loud for a good conversation. A nice way to start that discussion is with a beer. Boscos brews their own beer and it’s a big reason people visit. Each variety has a distinct flavor, which is not always the case with brew pubs. The Bombay IPA is tight with a dry, slightly bitter finish. The Isle of Skye Scottish Ale is a rich, brown ale with a slightly sweet finish. The Germantown Alt is another favorite, with nice malt flavor. They also feature a number of seasonal beers, which on our latest visit included the rich and sweet Export Stout. A real treat is the cask conditioned beers which are inventive, and packed with flavor you don’t normally experience in larger batches. They don’t offer the cask conditioned on Saturdays, which we always tend to forget.
Really good beer is enough of a reason to get us to visit, but at Boscos the food is also quite good. It’s the typical sandwich, pizza, pasta, salad and soup menu. The quality of that menu is what stands out. We started with fresh, crisp baby greens in the side salad. The thin Gorgonzola dressing may cry out for more cheese, but it does coat better and made for a nice salad. A reader recommended the black bean and goat cheese tamale. It was a good tip. There’s a little smoky flavor and a subtle background heat to the corn masa and black bean dish, which gives it a little more zip than the usual comforting tamale. The burger was ordered medium rare and came out more on the rare side. That’s okay. It’s a juicy burger with lots of flavor. The Parmesan fries on the side are always a highlight. They’re made with real melted Parmesan cheese, not some dried out flakes.
Past visits have shown that they do a good job with the wood oven pizzas. A delicate margherita and a decadent quattro formaggi top our list, along with the delicious Germantown which features barbecue chicken and smoked mozzarella.
Veggie Eater: I opted for the Calzone de Bosco this visit. Interestingly enough, you can order it calzone or pizza style. As I tend to prefer less crust, I opted for pizza style. I chose it because it encompassed all of my favorite pizza ingredients: spinach, artichokes, pesto, tomatoes, and olives with whole milk mozzarella. An Italian pizza purist, I prefer that ingredients be applied with restraint so that all parts can be tasted. I was not disappointed. The brininess of the artichokes and olives married well with the comfort of the pesto and mozz. Whole milk mozz does not have the stringiness of its cousin, part skim, and allows you to enjoy your slice without a struggle. As always, there was more than enough left over for lunch the next day and it made for wonderful leftovers. I must admit, I really wanted the tamales (thanks to Kristen who was kind enough to tip us off to her favorite veggie tamale spots in town), but my mother in-law had her heart set on them (she recently turned veggie after the whole downed cow debacle). The Calzone (or Pizza) de Bosco was a delightful alternative.
Meat Eater: Boscos gives a nod to vegetarians by marking the vegetarian dishes with an asterisk on the menu. Sunday brunch at Boscos is another treat. They have one of the better eggs Benedict options in town: the oyster Benedict is out of this world. Omelets, Belgian waffles and shrimp and grits are more brunch favorites. We paid $68.50 at dinner for three people with two beers.