Sunday, March 15, 2009

Pleasant Thyme Café

Nashville Restaurants and Food
Pleasant Thyme Café
2004 Highway 49 East
Pleasant View

There are plenty of home-style restaurants to be found in the rural exurbs north of Nashville, and perhaps that’s what you think you’ve stumbled on while traveling a rural stretch of Highway 49 in Pleasant View. A peek inside the restaurant reveals something much different: a sleek, tasteful coffee shop style design, with dark wood and an upscale vibe. Pleasant Thyme Café is a rare bird. It’s a family run restaurant in a small town, with big city menu executed by a talented chef. Okay, so this isn’t fine dining. Pleasant Thyme Café is a lunch joint, but the sandwiches, soups and salads would be welcome in any better Nashville restaurant. Indeed owners Rich and Susie Van Etten worked in several of those Nashville kitchens, including Provence, Tin Angel and Zola. They opened the doors at Pleasant Thyme last September.

It’s a fun place with a mix of folks, ranging from construction workers in dirty jeans and baseball caps to middle-aged ladies dressed in slacks and sweaters. It’s clear they are there for the same reason: excellent food.

You can taste the quality in the first spoonful of the tomato basil bisque. The chunky bits of tomato provide a bright accent to the rich, velvety soup. The broccoli, in the broccoli and bacon salad, has a fresh, satisfying crunch. It’s studded with raisins and dressed in a tangy, light dressing for a sweet finish. All of the sandwiches on the menu come listed as specialty Panini sandwiches, which seems to mean a variety of sandwiches, some of which are finished in Panini press. It may seem like an attempt to take ordinary food upscale, but it works. Most importantly the care with which these sandwiches are created is evident immediately. The New York Reuben Panini is filled with juicy, well seasoned corned beef, quality Swiss cheese and the usual sauerkraut and 1000 Island dressing finish. The Panini press grooves mark the tasty rye bread. It is a really good Reuben and ready to rumble with any you can find in Nashville. There are plenty of other recognizable sandwich options in the Pleasant Thyme line-up. The Flank Steak comes served with a spicy bleu cheese dressing. The Turkey California has avocado, cheddar and mango chutney. The Roasted Turkey features a rosemary and sundried tomato mayonnaise.

Pleasant Thyme also serves up wrap sandwiches such as Turkey Bacon, and a Spicy Fajita with smoked cheddar, jalapenos and a southwest sauce. The sides are a simple list of chips, potato salad, pasta salad and the broccoli and bacon salad. They usually have a couple of soups available each day, which on this day included a chicken gumbo and creamy artichoke. Breakfast includes an egg and cheese Panini, and quiche of the day.

Veggie Eater: My mother and I hit this restaurant for her birthday lunch while she was in town. We figured we
should try to support a local business and had heard good things about Pleasant Thyme. I am shamed to admit at how long it took to get me there, since it’s just a hop, jump and a skip from our J-town home. We were not disappointed. Mom ordered the Reuben Panini. She indicated the corned beef was very high quality. The Panini was stacked high like a true New York deli sandwich. She opted for potato salad, which was fresh. I on the other hand opted for the Veggie Delight. It consisted of artichoke spread on foccacia and had fresh veggies to top it: red peppers, tomatoes, cukes, onions, and provolone. A respectable veggie sandwich. There are not a ton of veggie choices (really just the Veggie delight sandwich and the house salad). However, quite a few sandwiches can be made veggie friendly easily. I also notice that it appears they do 2 quiches each morning and it appears one is veggie and one is meatified. They have breakfast Panini as well. It’s close enough that when I want a quick treat, I’ll stop in again. My mother was thoroughly pleased with the new addition to our area.

Meat Eater: Thanks to the readers who e-mailed us about this place. We never expected to talk about Pleasant View and mango chutney in the same review, but we are glad we can. The Pleasant Thyme Cafe had a bustling weekday lunch business going on both of our visits, so it seems the locals are responding. I think one reason for that success is the down home feel to the place. It may look upscale, and serve up some outstanding lunch food, but at its heart Pleasant Thyme Café is a family run, small town place where everyone knows everyone. It’s great to have all of that and really good food to boot.
The Pleasant Thyme Café is located just 2.5 miles from the I-24/Highway 49 exit and well worth a day trip. Pleasant View even has an antique store and a gift store just off Highway 49. Pleasant Thyme Café is open weekdays for breakfast and lunch, and until 2pm on Saturdays. A sandwich, side, cup of soup and a diet coke cost $12 with tax and tip.

Pleasant Thyme Cafe on Urbanspoon


Brad said...

I frequent the Pleasant Thyme Cafe as it is on my way to work. All I can say is excellent! The review is spot on.