Sunday, June 20, 2010
Nashville Restaurants and Food
The Village Pub and Beer Garden
1308 McGavock Pike
There’s nothing like an open air café to make a neighborhood come alive and the Village Pub is doing just that for Riverside Village in East Nashville. The gently whirring fans hovering above the well shaded wrap-around deck makes for a relaxing break, especially if you’re hoisting a massive 24 ounce mug of beer. It feels a bit German and that certainly seems like the vibe Jesse and Tracy Hamilton are going for with the joint. The deck is the beer garden and while that may be a little weird it works. You’re close enough to strike up a conversation about Doggy Day Care with folks having a beer before they pick up Fido across the street.
The Village Pub is a bit of a community work in progress. David Mitchell from nearby Mitchell Deli has put together the food menu and while limited, it has been growing. Part of the problem is the teeny-tiny kitchen. The latest addition to the line-up is sausage. The bratwurst is cooked in Abita Turbo Dog and nestled between a hearty, chewy Silke’s bun. Silke’s is a Clarksville Bakery that takes great pride in bringing back Eastern European bread styles. That bun is a bit thick and overwhelming for the tasty brat. It's the stereotype of the big, broad shouldered peasant woman suffocating her little husband. I guess that’s even more of an old world taste perked up with good sauerkraut, red peppers and stone ground mustard. They also serve an Abita enhanced Italian with melted mozzarella, onions and the fresh confit bruschetta. You may want to opt for the beer sausage and cheese platter, which puts both of those links on a bed of sauerkraut and the bread on the side.
Hot, doughy pretzels go great with that heavy-duty mustard or even better dipped in the Yazoo beer cheese dip. The confit bruschetta puts the tomatoes on the side: it’s cold and popping fresh. The toasted Silke’s olive bread is a warm and welcome twist. Once you pile the tomatoes on the bread, you get fresh and cool, hearty and hot all in the same bite.
The rest of the menu keeps it easy for the kitchen, serving up meats and cheeses that you’ll instantly recognize as Mitchell Deli favorites. Spicy Capacolla, salty prosciutto, big time Benton’s aged country ham, Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheeses from Kentucky…it all goes well with big beers.
Veggie Eater: It’s a limited menu for the veggie eater, but really, my two favorite food categories, starch and fat, are well represented. Nothing is better than a cold beer, a homemade warm pretzel from Silke’s served with homemade stone ground mustard and beer cheese dip, and an assortment of Kenny’s cheeses. Although it is very simple food, they pick the best products out there. The cheeses from Kenny include garlic paprika Monterey jack, cumin seed Gouda, and Kentucky Rose (a light blue). The cheeses come with fresh fruit, honey, more fabulous Silke’s bread, and olives. Although this is nosh food, not necessarily designed for a full meal, you will leave with a full tummy and a happy heart when finished. What can I say, I’m a simple girl.
Meat Eater: The inside is actually rather modern in design and rather airy. They were going to hire a kitchen manager, so hopefully the menu will keep expanding. I can’t think of a better place to snack, drink and watch Riverside Village roll past you on a slow, summer night.
Depending on what you order this won’t be a cheap experience. The higher grade 24 ounce beers can cost as much as $7.75 and those meat and cheese platters run about $12.75 each. Still, consider the quality and you probably won’t quibble. We paid $60 with tax and tip on one visit and $44 with tax and tip for another.