Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Bunch of New Joints: New Tapas,Guatemalan, Honduran and Nicaraguan

Nashville Restaurants and Food
New Tapas

Belcourt Taps and Tapas is apparently open for business. The Hillsboro Village restaurant is located at 2117 Belcourt Avenue. They have had a soft opening going for about a week. Just last night they reported on Facebook that they are now serving drinks as well as food. Has anyone seen the menu yet? Is it tapas by style only or is it actually Spanish in influence? We're hoping for the later. Small plates are cool, but we still hanker for actual Spanish tapas. This web site doesn't have much yet. You're better off clicking over to the Facebook page for more info:

Breaking Away from Mexico

Mexican joints dominate the Latin American restaurant scene in Nashville and not surprisingly: the Mexican population is the largest in our area. There has always been some cross over, with a few adventurous places like Las Americas offering a wider variety of cuisine from a number of countries. Lately though, the number of specialty places is on the rise and we’ve been having fun tracking them down.

Nica’s Restaurant at 314 McCall (just off Nolensville) features Nicaraguan food. Like much of Central American cuisine there is plenty of cross over, but Nicaraguan is their thing. Vigaron (slaw piled on top of yucca with chicharons-fried pork skin), gallo pinto (rice and beans) and papas rellenas (fried stuffed potato) are the better known members of a menu that is best expressed in picture form on the wall. And folks that’s about the only decoration you get at Nica’s. It looks like a dance/pool hall with a few tables pulled out. You can hear the pleasant sounds of ladies cooking in the back and they are gracious hosts. Atmosphere here is about non-existent. It’s dark and DIY. We’d like to see what they do with the place. Our first visit was hit and miss. That vigaron seemed pretty bland. Carne asada though was moist and delicious. The Veggie Eater says the papas rellenas is her favorite version outside of Peru. We’ll give them some time to get situated and get back for a full review.

It’s a whole different ballgame at La Antigua. The Guatemalan/Honduran restaurant is in a cinder block building at 2600 Grandview (really Woodbine near Nolensville) that has housed about a million different meat and threes, including a Sylvan Park outpost. The interior is painted bright red and yellow, warmly decorated and suffused with a positive and mellow vibe. At first Central American folk music plays in the background, and it’s then replaced by Christian Rock. It all works. They serve up big plates of huevos for breakfast, Guatemalan style with hunks of cheese and fried ham on the side. Pollo en Pipian sports a savory, nutty pumpkin and peanut sauce with chicken and boiled potatoes. They do the baking in house and make a strong and tasty cup of coffee.

Of course the El Salvadoran thing was the first to really break out in the area. There are now several pupuserias and at last check our favorite, La Usuluteca, is still going strong. Check out our previous review:

Now we just need Peruvian, better Brazilian, focused Costa Rican…the list goes on and the quest will continue. Let us know where you go when you want to step away from Mexico for a trip in the Latin American neighborhood. Also has anyone taken a trip to the new Caribbean joint La Cocina Dominicana? It’s at 1568 Bell Road and destined for a visit from us soon.


nelleb said...

I went on Sunday and the food is delicious. The menu is gourmet southern style tapas and they were planning on having the complete menu available by the weekend.

Anonymous said...

Get eatin'. You got a lot on your plate there. Can't wait to read the reviews? Have you tried Fogatas again?

Eric and Katie said...

nelleb: I guess that answers the Spanish question..yes, we are looking forward to our first visit. Anon: Much pressure! Yes, Fogatas trip two also a good thing. The review is coming up soon.

Trisha said...

I was disappointed in Taps & Tapas, but will give it another try in a month or so. La Antigua, on the other hand, was amazing. Went for a Saturday lunch and found the staff friendly and the food refreshingly different.

Eric and Katie said...

I think Belcourt Taps and Tapas shows great promise. They have some kinks to work out, but they've only been open two weeks. Let's give them some time to get up to speed. It's a good concept for Hillsboro Village and the folks seem quite nice.

Anonymous said...

Nicaraguan food and costa rican cuisine are almost indistinguishable. As far as peruvian, there is an excellent authentic restaurant "Cuzco" in murfreesboro