Nashville Restaurants and Food
Katie’s Meat and Three
10 Arcade (in between fourth and fifth streets)
Perception is everything. Several years ago I visited Katie’s Meat and Three while on a stroll through downtown Nashville. I had just arrived in the city and the quaint feel of the Arcade drew me in immediately. As a northerner Katie’s proved to be my first meat and three experience. I was in love with Southern cuisine and ready for more. Well, as you probably know from reading this blog, that was many, many restaurants ago. Recently I was downtown and decided to revisit. The big question: great meat and three or just an overexcited northerner?
Downstairs doesn’t look like much at Katie’s; it’s a near claustrophobic sliver of a serving area. You get everything in a Styrofoam to-go container, which can be taken up the narrow stairs to a little dining room or back out into the arcade to enjoy at one of the iron tables while watching the lunch crowd. Either experience is a treat, but on a mild spring day the Arcade experience can’t be beat.
You won’t find any surprises on the menu. This is a fried chicken, meat loaf, pork chop, fried fish type of place. They do a country fried steak on Wednesdays and salmon croquettes on Tuesdays. The sides are the usual arsenal of southern favorites.
One bite reminds me that this is indeed good fried chicken: moist inside, crunchy skin. It’s a huge piece of bird. The corn bread comes muffin style, a little crispy, a little sweet and pretty good. The mac and cheese proves to be a disappointment in the flavor department. The mashed potatoes taste fresh mashed and the brown gravy is fine, but everything seems to be short in seasoning. I know in these days of healthy eating people like to add their own salt to taste, and I’m fine with that, but there are plenty of other seasonings that can turn average sides into great sides: garlic, nutmeg, or paprika.
Another lunch trip puts a fried pork chop in the spotlight. It looks good on the outside: a good size chop with a golden brown crust. A quick cut with a knife reveals the truth: this is a dry, rangy piece of pork; overcooked and chewy. The sides fare better. Stewed green beans are well seasoned and the white beans have a solid texture and good flavor. Even the white roll stands above that lousy chop: doughy and slightly sweet.
Anyway, perhaps Katie's has changed hands in the last few years. It seems more likely though that I’ve just had a chance to get out a bit to taste the wide array of meat and three options in Nashville. You’ll always need places like Katie’s, where you can get a good, quick, fairly dependable lunch in a pleasant environment. I paid $7.94 with tax and tip for meat and two and $8.75 for meat and three.
If you’re a tourist visiting Nashville make sure to swing by the Arcade for a walk. It’s a historic indoor shopping area built in 1902 in between fourth and fifth streets. The Arcade has several good, informal lunch restaurants.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Nashville Restaurants and Food