Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Peter Chinn’s Update

Nashville Restaurants and Food
Peter Chinn’s Korean Barbecue Taco Update

Yes, it’s taken us this long to get to the new Peter Chinn’s location near Vanderbilt on 21st Avenue South. I guess we have mixed feelings about the whole move. First off, the food continues to be quite good and that extends to the “new” burger shop menu items. The French fries appear to be hand cut and skins on. They’re thick and yet still have a crisp exterior. The onion rings also surprised us with an excellent batter and a super crisp fry. The kimchi and steak quesadilla was cheesy, laid back and with a pleasant tang from the kimchi. We keep hoping that they would offer kimchi with more of a Korean fermented bite- perhaps as a menu option? The kogi taco is still good- marinated beef with fresh cucumber and onion.

About the only downside here is atmosphere. The quick move necessitated keeping the burger joint d├ęcor. Now, they need to consider dressing the place up to fit the true style of the place. It’s a fun and eclectic pairing of food styles and hopefully one day the surroundings will match the cuisine. We also miss the daily specials and the family feel of the take out location. True, we were in on a Friday evening, but it would be great if they could find a way to bring back the warmth of the take out stand. I know that sounds odd, but we always got a good vibe at the stand. The restaurant seems a bit impersonal right now. Perhaps it was just the time of day we visited.

In addition to the Korean barbecue taco options from the old Clarksville Highway location, the new menu includes burgers, a veggie burger, a salmon burger, a beefalo burger and milkshakes.

Veggie Eater: They’ve added veggie options, which include a tofu taco and a veggie burger. Trying to break out of my rut, which involves the delightful kimchi quesadilla, I opted for the tofu taco. It had cubes of seasoned, fried tofu nestled atop shredded veggies. It is mildly spicy. I would have appreciated a better condiment selection, both for the tacos and the fries (how about some Asian condiments, like sweet chili sauce?). I’ll be back, perhaps next time to sample the burger bar…though it seems sad to opt for a generic veggie burger when there is some much more inventive food to sample.


Beth said...

I've now gone to the new Peter Chinn's 4 times since it moved because it's close to my house, and well, I love the tacos! (and it's cheap!)

I don't have anything to compare it to because I never visited the original stand, but I agree that the decor could use a little something to add some warmth. Although it definitely won't deter me from eating there on a regular basis ;-)

Shannon said...

I haven't been back since the move. The 21st/Vandy area is such a clusterfork. When I found out they moved it ruined my whole day! And I don't think they make japchae anymore, which was excellent! They said once they get settled they will start making it again. Veggie eater could probably have tofu in it instead of beef. I know, it's a good move for them, but I'm selfish! It was my favorite quick food for our weekend cruise around town.

Eric and Katie said...

Beth: It's interesting to see the folks happy/sad about the location change. I think they will settle into a remodel at some point. Shannon: The old location was much closer to us as well and a quick stop on the way home for takeout. If they add more interesting/unusual items to the menu and spruce up the interior I think the move will be well worth the extra drive for us.

David said...


Peter Chinn's is still awesome!

Eric and Katie said...

David: We would agree...compared to most places they have fun, original, well executed and inexpensive food. You can't beat that!

Anonymous said...

Grrr. How in the world does the decor have any relation to the food?? Explain how and why anyone would ever go back to Prince's if decor and location was paramount to a dining experience. Cato and Bailey? Pepperfire? Taco trucks? The original Peter Chinn location? Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

I finally tried it after the move on a Saturday, didn't quite know what to expect, but liked the tacos. The staff was friendly and accomodating. It's out of the way for me, but the old location was more so. Most of their business on my visit was take away. The atmosphere seemed appropriate to me as that's some cheap food!

Eric and Katie said...

I think atmosphere (decor being part of atmosphere) has a lot to do with the restaurant experience. Bailey and Cato is an old house and quite frankly you feel like family when you're eating there....complete with a TV game show going on in the background. A little El Salvadoran spot with bright blue walls designed to match the flag means a lot more than a restaurant with generic wood paneling and flourescent lights. Places like Prince's create an exceptional food experience and through the years the surroundings (having to share a table and being elbow to elbow in line) become part of the soul of the place. We'd be bummed out if Prince's moved to a huge, shiny location downtown.

I think you'll find from reading this blog that we don't worry much about places being fancy. We're much more interested in whether or not the surroundings enhance the dining experience and say something about the food. In the case of the current Peter Chinn's location the decor says nothing about the food, and in fact simply harkens back to a past life as a burger joint. They are much more than a burger joint. That's okay, they made a quick move and I'm sure they will get around to sprucing the place up with their own individual style.

Lannae said...

I think the utilitarian quick move adds to the charm of PC. Also, as you know what happened to me at the other location which looked rather crappy from the outside, I am happy for the move to my side of town. Now, PC is on my way home from work :) I think you just need to make PC the scenic route home for yourself.