Sunday, August 8, 2010
Sky Blue Café
700 Fatherland Street
A quiet sidewalk table in the shade. A cozy dining room buzzing with diners at brunch. The Sky Blue Café has plenty of good things going for it and the second generation of the business appears to be working well. You may remember this breakfast and lunch spot from the positive review we gave a couple of years ago. The owners sold the place after a divorce. Employee Chad Stuible took over the restaurant last March and now owns and operates the joint with his soon- to- be wife, Mikah Wyman. The team has stripped down the menu. You won’t find as many surprises and it’s a short list of items. They do spice up that minimal menu with creative specials each day. For example: take a bite of the chorizo-dilla and find zingy and robust house-made chorizo sandwiched in between super-crisp spinach tortillas. Colby-jack, a rainbow assortment of peppers and onions make this a stand-out quesadilla. Home fries are nicely herbed and supremely tender quarters of potato.
There is no shtick or gimmicks here, just breakfast and lunch served in a friendly atmosphere. Beck and Patsy Cline co-mingle on the stereo. There’s a wait for seating most weekend mornings. The tables tend to turn quickly and it’s not a bad thing reading the newspaper on the sidewalk. They do need some benches or something to make that wait easier.
Lunch brings a garlic burger to the table. The kitchen nails medium-rare and the patty is exceptionally juicy. The garlic bits literally pop out of the beef as you eat. Spring greens, tomato and mild jalapenos round out a solid sandwich. The potato salad on the side shows great promise with capers studding the little dish. Unfortunately they are the only things zipping up this rather bland rendition.
So, we take a few stabs at the Veggie Eater’s plate and find a delicious sweet potato side: it’s all potato with a brush of brown sugar and pecans for a great twist on the classic southern preparation.
Veggie Eater: I opted for the Florentine Benedict for my breakfast visit. The eggs were precisely poached and sitting atop fresh sautéed spinach and grilled tomatoes. The hollandaise was lemony. The acidity of the tomatoes was a nice compliment and offset the rich sauce. On my second visit, I opted for lunch and the Portabella melt. The Portabella was marinated in a pleasant balsamic sauce turning the big mushroom tender and juicy. A slice of Swiss was melted onto the fungus. The bun (soft and fresh) was slathered in a Pesto Aioli. The sandwich was a wonderful combination of slightly sweet, slightly acidic, and savory. The sweet potato casserole was accented by pecan halves sprinkled among the fluffy potatoes and topped with brown sugar, which provided a crispy, caramelized top. Sweetened sweet potatoes generally tend to annoy me, but these were actually quite good. It’s a bit pricey both for breakfast and sandwich items, but we found both to be well prepared. I like being able to make a spur of the moment decision about whether I want breakfast or lunch; you don’t have to be boxed in here as breakfast is served all day. There are quite a few ovo-lacto veggie options. If you don’t have a newspaper to peruse during the wait for your table, they still have the boxes of Trivial Pursuit cards available to provide entertainment.
Meat Eater: A watermelon agua fresca or other daily concoction whipped up by Mikah could help beat the heat. A mimosa helps take the edge off the wait. They serve Drew’s Brews coffee in mugs and Bagel Face bagels as long as they last. The outdoor tables offer some of the better alfresco dining in the city. We love this leafy East Nashville neighborhood and the towering sunflowers across the street are a breakfast bonus.
We paid $27 with tax and tip for lunch, and $26 with tax and tip for breakfast.