Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lee’s Cheese Steak and Pepperfire Spiced Chicken

Nashville Restaurants and Food
Lee’s Cheese Steak and Pepperfire Spiced Chicken

East Nashville is hopping with new take out joints. Chris Chamberlain at the Scene has been doing some excellent food pioneering with help from the Bites Blog readers. I take their advice and hit the streets.

Let’s start with Lee’s Philly Cheese Steak. First impressions start with a big question mark. Lettuce and tomato on a cheese steak? Probably not a great idea and certainly unusual for an East Coast style cheese steak. But what the heck, it really isn’t that complicated- have them hold the veggies and pile on some fried onions. Next up…Swiss cheese? Okay, also a bit different. Hopes go up when the bun hits the grill and then go down when the hot steak is poured onto the cheese as it sits flaccid, on the bun. I’m used to that cheese melting on the grill, or in Boston perhaps with a quick toss in an oven. You know what? It works. This is a really good sandwich. The quality beef is chopped, perhaps a bit too thick, but well seasoned and my friends that’s where most places blow it. This steak has plenty of personality. I can’t speak for the Philly authenticity, although it clearly violates several traditions. Is it ooey-gooey and bad for you? Yes. Did I enjoy every bite? Yes.
I’ll be back, there’s plenty more on this menu to sample: fish, fried chicken, a pork chop sandwich and of course the cheese chicken sandwich thing that is the bastard cousin of the cheese steak.

Up the street to Pepperfire. It’s the former Phil’s Barbecue location undergoing a bit of a transformation with a large patio roof and some ad hoc seating. The menu is teeny tiny simple: hot chicken, hot wings, tenders and the fried pepper cheese sandwich. I never know where to start in the heat ratings with a first time visit to a hot chicken joint, but Chris has steered me right plenty of times. I go with the chicken breast quarter at hot. The levels go mild, medium, hot , xhot and xxhot. True to reports the hot is just a tad mellower than a Prince’s medium. The best part is the interesting spices that standout, despite the heat. The skin is super crispy and in hot chicken tradition they make it to order, so be prepared for a 15 minute wait while they get it right. It’s well worth it- making for a quality entrant into the hot chicken club. Kudos to owner Isaac Beard. We’ll be checking back over the next few weeks and have a review once they have a chance to settle in.

Lee’s Philly Cheese Steak
2610 Gallatin Pike

Pepperfire Spiced Chicken
2821 Gallatin Pike


Anonymous said...

I flagged the Bites blawg about Lee's after seeing a thread on the east nashville list serv. I see you like Kay (West?) have more nerve than I. I did a drive by and it was vacant - I panicked and fled. My bad.

At Pepperfire how many wings do you get for $7.50??

Eric and Katie said...

Lee's was a little slow when I visited yesterday. I think the location is good...just will need some time for word of mouth. Pepperfire on the other hand was hopping busy. I think you get 12 wings for that price. Nice to have some new joints opening up...I was getting kinda bored.

Shannon said...

anonymous- Don't panic. Try it out! It's not scary or anything. It's very clean & the folks are nice. If you're looking for an authentic cheese steak, you will probably be disappointed. But if you're looking for a good steak or chicken sandwich, head on in. They also have catfish & whiting sandwiches, porkchop sandwiches, fried chicken, & wings. I'm planning on swinging by again today. I hope they're open.

mIKES said...

The wings are 6 pieces of jumbo pieces. A fair quantity when you throw in the bread and a side of slaw. I so much want to enjoy hot chicken - but - I am going for the mild from now on to enjoy the other underlying flavors of this bird. Nice folks - friendly and fast enough me.

Eric and Katie said...

mIKES: yeah, that's probably not a bad idea at Pepperfire. I enjoyed the hot, but was kinda wondering what the rest of the spices would taste like without being bullied by the heat. Paprika or allspice or something in there. Shannon: I think you describe it well...certainly not "authentic" but a damn good steak sandwich. I did see them open today as we passed by on Gallatin Pike. Let us know how the rest of the menu fares.