Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Local Taco


Nashville Restaurants and Food
The Local Taco
4501 Murphy Road
Nashville
615-891-3271
www.thelocaltaco.com

It’s 10:58 a.m. The Local Taco doesn’t open for another two minutes. There are already 12 people in line. This Sylvan Park restaurant is crazy popular. And while the lines may seem daunting at times, the staff hustles. You can find tacos all over this city: new taquerias spring up on Nolensville Road, Murfreesboro Road and Gallatin Pike monthly. It’s just one of the many reasons it’s taken us so long to get here. So, why do we need The Local Taco? They’re doing something different and for the most part doing it with taste and style.

The carnitas may be the only item on the menu that harkens back to those taco stands. It’s understated, okay and probably not up to most taco stand standards. Have no fear. The Local Taco folks do much better when traveling their own road. The Korean BBQ taco stands out with robust flavor and a nice, sesame crunch thanks to the Asian slaw. Texas brisket has a bit of smoke and zest from the pico de gallo. The amount of meat in the tacos was an issue raised by some patrons several months ago. For the most part our sampling found that this seems to have been corrected, with the exception of the buffalo chicken taco, which is tangy and a bit stingy on the chicken and blue cheese.

You have to pay for salsas and at $2.50 a pop you get a red sauce with decent heat and a green salsa with a little tang. The guacamole is simple, fresh and excellent. Black beans had a pleasant hint of citrus. Mexican rice fell flat in the flavor department.

The Local Taco serves what it calls the Tennessee Brunch on weekends. The namesake taco is super salty thanks to Benton’s country ham. Paired with red eye gravy it’s a messy, filling taco. The local scramble doesn’t fare as well- the chorizo is meek and the entire effect is rather gloppy and bland. The white grits are superb, some of the best in Nashville. They’re prepared simply and with just a little cheese and diced tomato on top. The quality could come from the provider, Water Power organic corn grits. You’ll find a number of local providers listed on the chalkboard at the back. The flour tortillas come from La Hacienda.

Margaritas are a big draw at $5.50 a glass or $21 a pitcher. They have several versions, depending on your choice of tequila. The red and white house sangria would go well on the sunny patio or open eating areas.

Veggie Eater: I really enjoy the vibe at this place, but should disclose that’s in part because we’ve always been early before the rush hits. The menu tries very hard to be very veggie friendly. Each category has a veggie option. On the first visit I opted for enchiladas; both the cheese with verde sauce and vegetarian with lemon crema sauce. The corn torts were fresh and the sauces complemented the enchiladas without drowning them. The cheese enchilada had some queso fresco in them, which added a bit more texture. The veggie enchiladas had julienned bits of zucchini and squash, as well as beans. The mac and cheese on the side was a bit bland, though it did appear to be a roux based version. On the second visit, I opted for the brunch fare, choosing huevos verdes taco and a vegetarian taco. The huevos taco featured spinach, zucchini and jack cheese nestled into eggs, then tucked into a flour tortilla. The veggie taco consisted of queso fresco, beans, zucchini, red pepper and onions. Both were very good. These are tacos made with restraint and fairly delicate flavors. My only gripe is that although the menu makes a real effort to be veggie friendly, the ingredients are essentially the same for each veggie item in each veggie category (the veggie taco is not very different from the veggie enchilada); a little more variety (how about rajas?) with the veggie items would be appreciated.

Meat Eater: The bustling and yet laid back atmosphere really pulls it all together. You order up at the counter and take a number back to your table. Someone from the staff will probably come back to check on your meal and ask how you are doing. Weekends can get a little crazy and the idea of valet parking for a taco joint may seem nuts, but is entirely necessary.

We paid $33 on one visit for a boat load of food and $21 with tax and tip for a more restrained brunch.

The Local Taco on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sweet Flood Relief

Lindsay at the Love & Olive Oil blog is putting together a desserty relief effort this weekend. Check it out:

The Sweet Relief bake sale will run from 1:30pm until 4:00 on Saturday, May 29th at the Green Wagon in East Nashville (1100 Forest Ave.). All proceeds from the event will benefit Second Harvest of Middle Tennessee (http://www.secondharvestmidtn.org/) and their efforts to provide relief to victims of the recent flooding. Be sure to come by and show your support by enjoying some guilt-free sweets. Your tastebuds will thank you.


Just to whet your whistle... some of things you can expect to find at this Saturday's bake sale: cookie dough cupcakes, mexican chocolate brownies, espresso chocolate toffee, blue velvet cupcakes, peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, lemon streusel bars, and olive oil cake... hungry yet? Yeah, I thought so.

We are also still seeking volunteers to bake or help out with the event. Food bloggers, non-food bloggers, and food blog fans are all welcome (you do not have to have a food blog to contribute). Simply shoot me an email if you interested in participating.

We have a facebook event setup here where people can RSVP (not necessary to attend, but we like to see who's coming!) and comment:

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=112572105452269
-- Lindsay Landis / Love & Olive Oil



http://www.loveandoliveoil.com

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Holland House Bar and Refuge

Nashville Restaurants and Food

The Holland House Bar and Refuge
935 Eastland Avenue
Nashville
615-262-4190
www.hollandhousenashville.com

The revival of the great American cocktail is an interesting trend. Are people most enamored with the drinks and the skill of preparation, or are they in love with the concept of dressing up, and bringing back the look sharp attitude of the 40’s and 50’s? The folks at the Holland House Bar and Refuge seem to fall into the drink category. Terrell Raley is the general manager and head mixologist and that says a lot about the place. Raley and his suspendered bartending crew turn out precise cocktails that are unabashed in style and full of bold and sometimes even challenging flavors. While drinks may dominate at the Holland House, the kitchen is making a game effort to keep up with an ever expanding, and somewhat quirky, menu.

The Holland House is an outpost in the Maxwell Heights/Greenwood area of East Nashville near Ellington Parkway. It’s an unassuming and yet stylish renovation of a neighborhood grocery store. The interior sports plank floors and exposed cinder block. The out of place chandeliers and a mock library room round out the tongue in cheek ambience. The result: you can show up dressed up for a night out or in a black t-shirt and shorts. No one will care.

You’ll find traditional cocktails on the main list and a number of adapted creations. In Peru last summer we drank enough Pisco Sours to fill a swimming pool. We found the Holland House version to be up to par: a little tart, a nice bite and topped with a well defined and creamy head from egg white and plenty of shaking. The Cabo Verde had a whiplash tequila bite. A Black Lemon Old Fashioned, suggested by the bar, was a dark and piquant mix of Basil Hayden bourbon and summer tea bitters. Bitters are popular here as well as other husky, powerful flavors. The long list of cocktails number into the dozens: Sazerac, Negroni, Vieux Carre, Rye Flip. They’re divided in the drink menu as cocktails; juleps, smashes and cobblers and epicurean cocktails. If all that sounds pretentious it’s not- these folks just enjoy making great drinks.

Our bartender John is shaking, mashing, muddling and even finding time for chatting on a busy evening. He brings us an egg white topped Morning Glory featuring Talisker scotch and Corsair Red absinthe. The Warsaw Mule comes with a huge block of ice and light summery flavor. They’ll tell you that these recipes are a hundred years old and they are merely updating that tradition with carefully selected liquors- infused vodkas, small batch gins and artisan bourbons.

The food side of the house features some Nashville restaurant veterans. Christian Dye is the Executive Chef, you may remember him from Watermark. Laura Wilson, formerly of Ombi, has been helping to get the menu going and creating contacts with local farmers. We took a run through the small plates menu with some new friends on one visit. The fish and chips were a standout. The thick catfish filet has a light fry. The skin-on French fries walked the line between meaty and crispy. Crab sausage was a savory take, served luke warm, which seemed a bit odd. Lamb wings looked and sounded like an excellent idea, and while served with a spicy, sweet buffalo-style sauce, lacked enough flavor on their own. Steak tartar was well seasoned and pepped up with capers and shallots. The spare rib egg rolls were a bit uninspired. The pork belly had a nice char on the outside and proved moist and flavorful.

The Meester Burger is wagyu kobe beef cooked perfectly medium rare as a default (they were too slammed to ask what temperature). The sweet flavor of the beef is accented by aioli, cheddar and a hearty, floury Provence whole wheat bun. It’s a good burger- simple and tasty. I assume the name is homage to a Dutch burger joint by the same name. Judging from pictures of the Dutch burgers online it seems likely. The fries this night were spot on-crispy, crunchy and meaty all at the same time. A generous dose of salt and some sampling ketchup and you have a pretty good evening.

For a different twist, try the brunch. It’s a small line-up but when combined with mimosas makes for an enjoyable morning. The blood orange mimosa was a little heartier than the usual and a little tarter. The ginger-grapefruit version was a nice pair. The server recommended the biscuits platter and it was a good suggestion. The biscuits are dense and tasty. Honey butter is a delicate topping and the blueberry preserves a sweet standout. The king of the plate proved to be the light and lemony white gravy with big chunks of sausage. The eggs Benedict was a bit of a dry disappointment. The eggs were overcooked, leaving them mealy and not runny. The hollandaise was pleasant and yet a bit sparse on the plate. The chewy Tennessee country ham had terrific flavor. The house omelet did better. It was light, well cooked and wrapped up with spinach.

Diced potatoes had decent flavor, especially when combined with the few bits of caramelized onion. We tried to do the fun loving, Cold Pizza Platter, which is exactly what it describes: cold pizza from the night before served with a candy cigarette. Alas, the pizza was pepperoni and the Veggie Eater was in a plate sharing mood.

Veggie Eater: On my second visit, I opted for the veggie plate du jour (it really does change each day) .On this night it was fried red peppers stuffed with feta cheese. It was a great combination of textures and flavors; a bit crispy, chewy, squeaky, sweet, and salty all at the same time. The next time, I tried the Ketchup sampler and house salad. The fries are skinny with skins; my favorite kind and these were well prepared during our visit. The ketchups are a bit confounding; one appeared to be some variation of berry and black pepper, another tasted of smoked chiles, and yet another a bit reminiscent of curry. The orange version baffled me completely, but no worries, I managed to gobble them all. The salad was a bit smallish for the $6 price, but was a wonderful combination of   greens, slivered almonds, dried cranberries, and sliced radishes, all coated with homemade buttermilk vinaigrette. I just wish there had been more of it. The Warsaw Mule is a summer cocktail delight; vodka, citrus, and soda water. They also have a great selections of beers, including more difficult to find high alcohol varieties (triple bock, Belgian or imperial stout, anyone?). Prices are not cheap, but not terrible either. Love the vibe. My only fear is that it will lose its charm as it becomes busier.

Meat Eater: East Nashville seems to be taking to the Holland House Bar and Refuge. Kinda cool to see women in gym shorts and t-shirts rubbing elbows with others in black cocktail dresses. Mondays offer a good deal: a half-price Meester burger ($7) and half-price small batch bourbons ($5-$7). Basic cocktails are $10 each. Small plates run $6-$12 and entrees $12-$19. We paid $41 for brunch with tax and tip. It’s hard to say what we paid on the second visit, due to the large group, but it came out to about $120 for us. On a third visit we paid $62 with tax and tip.

Holland House on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Get Downtown

Downtown businesses have been walloped by the recent weather. The flooding and power outages have caused major problems. Many have reopened and hopefully Nashville folks can help out by visiting soon. We were chatting with the folks at Piranhas last weekend. While the flooding didn't cause problems there the power outage did. They've had the beer taps and now the grill open for some time now. The Hard Rock and Big River Grille both reopened last weekend. Past Perfect was back in business more than a week ago. The honky tonks are buzzing and the beer is flowing. There are a couple of places along Second Avenue, including the Wild Horse that may take longer and clean-up trucks are everywhere. Parking is kind of a pain due to all of the bagged meters for that clean-up work. Still, you know where to find the good spots. If you get a chance stop by for lunch or a few beers. And for all of you potential visitors...we're back open for business and downtown is swinging again. Swig a PBR and watch some Bluegrass at Layla's or check out all the boots at Robert's.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Wow-Everyone Eating Out!

How successful was the Eat Out for Nashville event yesterday? We found a much busier than usual Monday night at the Holland House Bar and Refuge. Lannae Long says she found big lines at Burger Up and Baja Burrito. I was puzzled this morning by the fact that our blog traffic yesterday doubled. I did a little Google Analytics breakdown and sure enough...the increase was due to organic searches and the top term was Eat Out for Nashville. I know eating dinner seems like a really small thing to do, but every bit helps and I think most people in this city are doing many other things, including volunteer clean-up work. Eat Out for Nashville was just another way that we could join together and show that We Are Nashville.

We had a blast at Holland House and the staff was certainly digging the fact that it was for such an important cause. We'd like to take a moment to thank the restaurants and their workers for making it all happen...they did the real work. And an especially big thanks to Chris Chamberlain at the Nashville Scene for organizing it all and Doug Hogrefe, the owner of Amerigo, for getting the ball rolling. It will be cool to see how much money was raised.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Eat Out For Nashville Tonight - Here's the List

Tonight is the night to Eat Out For Nashville. More than 50 restaurants are participating, covering a wide variety of styles. Restaurants are donating 50 percent of proceeds to the Tennessee Emergency Response Fund of the Community Fund of Middle Tennessee. We hope to see you out there!

The Acorn Restaurant

114 28th Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 320-4399

Amerigo-West End
1922 West End Avenue
Nashville, Tennessee 37203
(615) 321-6024

Amerigo-Cool Springs
1656 Westgate Circle
Brentwood, Tennessee 37027
(615) 377-7070

Baja Burrito
722 Thompson Lane
Nashville, TN 37204
(615) 383-2252

Bravo Gelato
Village Green
4117 Hillsboro Rd
Nashville, TN, 37215
(615) 297-0274
The Mall at Green Hills
(615) 386-6730

Burger Up
2901 12th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37204-2509
(615) 279-3767

Cha Chah
2013 Belmont Boulevard
Nashville, TN 37212
(615) 298-1430

The Garden Brunch Café (breakfast and lunch only)
924 Jefferson Street
Nashville, TN 37208
(615) 891-1217

Holland House Bar and Refuge
935 W. Eastland Ave.
Nashville, TN 37206
(615) 262-4190

Jimmy Kelly’s
217 Louise Avenue
Nashville, TN 37203-1811
(615) 329-4349

Lazzaroli’s Pasta
1314 5th Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37208-1600
(615) 291-9922

Lazziz Persian Restaurant
3725 Nolensville Pike
Nashville, TN 37211
(615) 333-0772

The Melting Pot
166 Second Avenue N.
Nashville, TN 37201
(615) 742-4970

Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt
6900 Lenox Village Dr. Suite 6
Nashville, TN 37211
(615) 730-7855

Nana Rosa’s Italian Food
109 Walton Ferry Rd.
Hendersonville, TN 37075
(615) 431-0268

9 Fruits Smoothies (50% of sales on all “Muddy River” (Chocolate Peanut Butter) Smoothies)
790 Jordan Road
Franklin, TN 37067
(615) 771-9818

Nuvo Burrito
1000 Main Street
Nashville, TN 37206
(615) 866-9713

O'Charley's
923 Bell Road, Antioch, TN 37013
100 E. Park Drive, Brentwood, TN 37027
2792 Wilma Rudolph Boulevard, Clarksville, TN 37040
202 North James Campbell Boulevard, Columbia, TN 38401
1401 Interstate Drive, Cookeville, TN 38501
2409 Highway 46 South, Dickson, TN 37055
1202 Murfreesboro Road, Franklin, TN 37064
1009 Village Green Crossing, Gallatin, TN 37066
912 Rivergate Parkway, Goodlettsville, TN 37072
212 Indian Lake Boulevard, Hendersonville, TN 37075
5500 Old Hickory Boulevard, Hermitage, TN 37076
4223 Ft. Campbell Boulevard, Hopkinsville, KY 42241
902 Murfreesboro Road, Lebanon, TN 37090
2367 Hillsboro Boulevard, Manchester, TN 37355
401 S. Mt. Juliet Road, Ste 125, Mt. Juliet, TN 37122
1006 Memorial Boulevard, Murfreesboro, TN 37129
2450 Old Fort Parkway, Murfreesboro, TN 37128
1108 Murfreesboro Road, Nashville, TN 37217
17 White Bridge Road, Nashville, TN 37205
110 Coley Davis Court (Bellevue), Nashville, TN 37221
820 Expo Drive, Smyrna, TN 37167
2000 Crossing Circle, Spring Hill, TN 37174
3535 Tom Austin Highway, Springfield, TN 37172

Paradise Park Trailer Resort
411 Broadway
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 251-1515

The Patterson House (Tuesday 5/18 only)
1711 Division Street
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 244-7989

The Perch
117a Franklin Road
Brentwood, TN 37027
(615) 661-9008

Pied Piper Creamery
114 South 11th Street
Nashville, TN 37216
(615) 227-4114

Qdoba Mexican Grill

Nashville:
2019 West End Avenue
(615)340-2822

Brentwood:
782 Old Hickory Blvd.
(615) 221-2152

Hendersonville:
300 Indian Lake Blvd.
(615) 264-4806

Rumours Wine and Art Bar-12 South
2304 12th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37204
(615) 292-9400

Sopapilla’s
1109 Davenport Blvd.
Franklin, TN 37064
(615) 794-9989

Sparkle Cupcake Factory
7009 Lenox Village Dr.
Nashville, TN 37211
(615) 833-3113

Stoney River Legendary Steaks
1726 Galleria Boulevard, Cool Springs
3015 West End Avenue, Nashville

Watermark Restaurant
507 12th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-4027
(615) 254-2000

Sunday, May 16, 2010

La Hacienda Taqueria

Nashville Restaurants and Food
La Hacienda Taqueria
2615 Nolensville Pike
Nashville
615-256-6142
www.lahanashville.com



It’s not easy being one of the Nashville originals, especially when hundreds of competitors come to town in the years after your opening. La Hacienda Taqueria, which first opened in 1993, has proven to be up to the challenge. Now, with a recent facelift and some new menu items, the Nolensville Road institution seems ready for the future.

The construction came about as a result of a fire last December. It had many fans agonizing until February, when it reopened to much fanfare. It’s good to see the same homey/bustling atmosphere we’ve grown accustomed to over the years. A lunch service can pack the house and yet the kitchen and staff keep the orders coming and the food moving.

The salsa has decent flavor and just a little heat. The fresh and creamy guacamole steps it up a notch with enough chunks of avocado to keep the texture and cilantro, onions and tomatoes. It’s a little expensive at $3.99 for the little bowl you get, compared to other Mexican joints in town, but still a bargain compared to the “high end” places that have begun to crop up. Cilantro is a big deal at La Hacienda. An asada steak torta comes cilantro heavy, which is unusual and pleasantly zingy. The torta bun isn’t grilled and the construction is restrained with just beans, onions, steak and avocado. Still, it’s a tasty and well balanced sandwich.

A wide ranging menu helps La Hacienda walk the line between authentic Mexican and Americanized tastes. The taco line-up allows you to order traditional corn tortillas, less traditional flour tortillas and Americanized “Crispy” tacos. The new fish taco on a corn tortilla is a salty and nicely seasoned treat. Pico de gallo and avocado fill the tiny tortilla to overflowing. An Al pastor (seasoned pork) taco has decent flavor and lots of onion and cilantro.

The new molcajete bowls are huge, hot and filled with a light, zippy tomato based sauce. Inside you’ll find a big banana pepper, a whole cactus peddle, and a big slice of goat cheese. The slices of beef hold up well to the heat. Slice up bits of each ingredient and put them into a tortilla - the combination is a fantastic meal.

Seafood and breakfast items are also standouts on the menu at La Hacienda. Weekends bring authentic pozole (hominy stew), menudo (spicy tripe soup), goat (stewed or not) barbacoa beef, and seafood soups.

Veggie Eater: The menu includes a veggie combination section which lists your standard variety of beans, cheese, and rice piled into some sort of tortilla. They have also added a veggie quesadilla. It’s the typical Mexican restaurant nod to veggie eaters. I opted for the cheese enchilada and chile relleno combo. I found the relleno breading to be a bit eggy and the enchilada sauce was a somewhat tasteless topping often found. On a happier note, the corn tortilla for the enchilada was very fresh. One would hope so given the fact that they are one of the largest tortilla wholesalers in the area. The veggie food is not terribly inspired, but as I’m fond of saying, even OK Mexican food is very satisfying.

Meat Eater:  A full range of margaritas, beer, specialty drinks and tequila shots make it possible to get the party started during dinner. The supermercado and tortilla factory next door are a must visit after you eat.
We paid $33 with tax and tip for one visit and I paid $11 with tax and tip for two tacos and a torta for lunch.
La Hacienda Tortilleria No. 1 on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 13, 2010

More than 40 Restaurants Lined up for Eat Out For Nashville May 17

Here's the latest from the folks at the Scene who are organizing the Eat Out for Nashville event for Monday. Please note that each restaurant may be doing it a bit differently. Some may just do lunch and others only dinner, and some will have special menus and offers that will apply, so you're advised to check-in with the restaurant first to see exactly what they will be doing that day.

More than 40 Nashville Restaurants have answered the call to participate in “Eat Out for Nashville,” a fundraiser planned for May 17, 2010. Participating restaurants have agreed to contribute 50% of their proceeds to the Tennessee Emergency Response Fund of the Community Fund of Middle Tennessee. The event is being publicized by traditional media including The Tennessean, MetroMix, The Nashville City Paper and The Nashville Scene. Alternative media such as www.Nashvillest.com, Twitter, FaceBook and Nashville food blogs are also sharing the growing list of dining options contributing to “Eat Out for Nashville” with their thousands of readers.


A major addition to the roster of restaurants occurred on Tuesday when O’Charley’s and Stoney River Legendary Steaks agreed to join the effort on behalf of almost all of their Middle Tennessee locations. Chris Chamberlain, food writer for the Nashville Scene “Bites” blog commented, “The response from so many local restaurants has been incredible. Adding Nashville-based O’Charley’s and Stoney River and their twenty-five locations really increases the geographic options for diners who want to contribute by eating out on Monday, May 17. This should have a real impact on the amount of money raised for flood relief across the Middle Tennessee area.”

Restaurants all over the region are stepping up to contribute to “Eat Out for Nashville,” from longtime Nashville stalwarts like Amerigo, Baja Burrito and The Melting Pot to two dining spots that literally opened during the days of the flooding, Burger Up and Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt. “To see restaurants that were in the midst of opening their doors to customers for the first time want to take on the added responsibility of joining this effort is especially gratifying for all involved,” said Doug Hogrefe, owner of Amerigo and one of the organizers of “Eat Out for Nashville.”

Some restaurants are even opening especially for this event. Lazzaroli’s Pasta is not normally a dine-in establishment, but owner Tom Lazzaro has agreed to be open from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm on the 17th and to contribute 50% of all fresh pasta, ravioli, and homemade sauce sales that day. The Garden Brunch Café on Jefferson Street is normally closed on Mondays, but staff will come in on a volunteer basis just to be a part of “Eat Out for Nashville.”

More restaurants are still being added every day, and diners are encouraged to make plans to eat out on Monday May 17 so that half the cost of their ticket can go toward helping Middle Tennesseans who are recovering from the damage of the early May storms.

Current List of Restaurants Participating in “Eat Out for Nashville” (as of 5/12/10)

The Acorn Restaurant

114 28th Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 320-4399


Amerigo-West End
1922 West End Avenue
Nashville, Tennessee 37203
(615) 321-6024

Amerigo-Cool Springs
1656 Westgate Circle
Brentwood, Tennessee 37027
(615) 377-7070

Baja Burrito
722 Thompson Lane
Nashville, TN 37204
(615) 383-2252

Burger Up
2901 12th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37204-2509
(615) 279-3767

Cha Chah

2013 Belmont Boulevard
Nashville, TN 37212
(615) 298-1430


The Garden Brunch Café (breakfast and lunch only)
924 Jefferson Street
Nashville, TN 37208
(615) 891-1217

Holland House Bar and Refuge
935 W. Eastland Ave.
Nashville, TN 37206
(615) 262-4190

Lazzaroli’s Pasta
1314 5th Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37208-1600
(615) 291-9922

Lazziz Persian Restaurant

3725 Nolensville Pike
Nashville, TN 37211
(615) 333-0772

The Melting Pot
166 Second Avenue N.
Nashville, TN 37201
(615) 742-4970

Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt
6900 Lenox Village Dr. Suite 6
Nashville, TN 37211
(615) 730-7855

Nana Rosa’s Italian Food

109 Walton Ferry Rd.
Hendersonville, TN 37075
(615) 431-0268

Nuvo Burrito
1000 Main Street
Nashville, TN 37206
(615) 866-9713

O'Charley's
923 Bell Road, Antioch
100 E. Park Drive, Brentwood
2792 Wilma Rudolph Boulevard, Clarksville
202 North James Campbell Boulevard, Columbia
1401 Interstate Drive, Cookeville
2409 Highway 46 South, Dickson
1202 Murfreesboro Road, Franklin
1009 Village Green Crossing, Gallatin
912 Rivergate Parkway, Goodlettsville
212 Indian Lake Boulevard, Hendersonville
5500 Old Hickory Boulevard, Hermitage
4223 Ft. Campbell Boulevard, Hopkinsville
902 Murfreesboro Road, Lebanon
2367 Hillsboro Boulevard, Manchester
401 S. Mt. Juliet Road, Ste 125, Mt. Juliet
1006 Memorial Boulevard, Murfreesboro
2450 Old Fort Parkway, Murfreesboro
1108 Murfreesboro Road, Nashville
17 White Bridge Road, Nashville
110 Coley Davis Court (Bellevue), Nashville
820 Expo Drive, Smyrna
2000 Crossing Circle, Spring Hill
3535 Tom Austin Highway, Springfield

Paradise Park Trailer Resort
411 Broadway
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 251-1515

The Patterson House (Tuesday 5/18 only)
1711 Division Street
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 244-7989

The Perch
117a Franklin Road
Brentwood, TN 37027
(615) 661-9008

Pied Piper Creamery

114 South 11th Street
Nashville, TN 37216
(615) 227-4114

Sopapilla’s
1109 Davenport Blvd.
Franklin, TN 37064
(615) 794-9989

Stoney River Legendary Steaks
1726 Galleria Boulevard, Cool Springs
3015 West End Avenue, Nashville

Watermark Restaurant

507 12th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-4027
(615) 254-2000


For more information or to sign up a restaurant to participate, email EatOutForNashville@gmail.com or call Chris Chamberlain at (615) 852-7675.

Follow @EatOutForNash on Twitter or at http://www.eatoutfornashville.org.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Past Perfect is Back Open

Past Perfect restaurant downtown is back open after the flood. This is an e-mail from owner Shawn Courtney:

 I want to personally thank everyone for the overwhelming response we have received over the past week. We have had so many wonderful calls and emails wishing support, as well as so many hard working volunteers who made this recovery possible. And, thanks to the hard work of our friends, family, and our community, Today, We are Open for Business!


Past Perfect

123 3rd Avenue South
Nashville
615-736-7727
www.PastPerfectNashville.com

Latest Restaurant List for Eat Out for Nashville

We're less than one week away for the Eat Out for Nashville flood relief night. It's scheduled for Monday, May 17. Participating restaurants will donate 50% of the evening’s proceeds to the Tennessee Emergency Response Fund of the Community Fund of Middle Tennessee. We need more restaurants to sign up. Here is the latest list:

Amerigo West End
Amerigo Cool Springs
Baja Burrito
Burger Up
Lazzaroli's Pasta
The Melting Pot
Menchie's Yogurt
Paradise Park Trailer Resort
Patterson House
The Perch

Visit http://www.eatoutfornashville.org/  for more information.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Crows Nest

Nashville Restaurants and Food

The Crows Nest
2221 Bandywood Drive
Nashville
615-783-0720
www.crowsnestnashville.com

A guy named Farokhmanesh steps up and takes a shot. It’s in for three. A few seconds later the University of Northern Iowa has just beat Kansas for a huge NCAA basketball upset and the bar is going nuts. Oh, and by the way the fisherman’s stew has arrived and the tomato based broth looks light and spicy.

It’s rare that a sports bar really steps up to the plate in the food department. We’re not just talking burgers, but hitting it on everything from soups and salads to entrees. The Crows Nest in Green Hills manages to pull it off.

It certainly looks like a big Southern sports bar: roll-up garage door windows and ample deck space opens the place up for a breezy, summery feel. There are flat screens everywhere and a loud, festive din, especially during peak times, which can find dozens of tables packed with folks on both levels. The beer selection is solid with about a dozen tap choices and twice as many bottles. A decent wine by the glass and liquor line-up ensures a good time can be had by all.

The kitchen holds its own and the wait staff keeps things moving, even when the game is on the line. We had a large group on one visit and the drinks kept flowing and the food kept coming. The aforementioned fisherman’s stew is a nice start to the meal, with chunks of fish and shrimp. There is one hiccup: a burger ordered medium rare comes out well. This was the case up and down the table. Still, it has a nice char and jalapenos, pepper jack cheese and barbecue sauce give the thick patty some extra spirit. A friend down the way has gone crazy. His double bacon cheeseburger is at least eight inches high. He puts up a good fight and enjoys the battle. Fries are typical crinkle cut and crispy.

Another visit brings out the grouper sandwich for review. It can come fried, grilled or blackened. It’s a thick, fresh piece of fish and luckily the blackened is more a spicy browning, which doesn’t overwhelm the delicate flavor. The spicy remoulade does add a kick. The grilled buns and fresh veggie toppings graced every sandwich we tried. A side of cheddar hash browns proves to be light and peppy thanks to some peppers thrown into the mix.

The Crows Nest has a pretty expansive menu, covering just about every imaginable bar food offering and ranging into seafood, pasta and salads. It’s the quality of ingredients and the care they take and preparation that really stands out.

Veggie Eater: I am happy to report that the most important course of the meal, salad, is well treated here. The dressings appear to be homemade and the greens are crisp and fresh. The house salad is adorned with blue cheese, pecans, cherries and grape tomatoes. On the next visit, to shake things up a bit, we opted for the Spinach and Egg salad and substituted the miso dressing for the standard hot bacon vinaigrette. The miso was delicately flavored with toasted sesame oil. The salad itself was chock full of spinach, red onions, chopped hardboiled egg, grated parmesan, and tomatoes. Our substitution must have caused some confusion, as the touted bleu cheese crumbles were MIA. I brought this to the server’s attention and an apology was made, but no attempt at reparations. The first time around, I opted for the Ricotta-Portabella ravioli and found the ravioli to be well cooked and the sauce, consisting of Mascarpone cheese and sundried tomatoes, was light and satisfying. On the second visit, feeling more bar-foody, I opted for the black bean burger with provolone cheese. It’s your standard black bean Harvest Burger, but the freshly toasted buns and all the toppings (lettuce, tomato, pickles, and onions) made it really good. I’m a skinny fry girl and unfortunately found the crinkle cuts did not change my bias. Sandwiches and salads are not cheap, but they’re not terribly expensive either. They have great beer specials ($3.50 per pint on the beer of the week). We have found the service to be attentive and quick, even when the place is bonkers busy and with a large group of people (10+).

Meat Eater: It tones down a notch or two in the party atmosphere for lunch. Saturday nights during big games can be quite busy. Sunday brunch has been warmly received by friends and may bring us back soon to try for ourselves. The biggest downside here is parking. There are just a couple of spots out front and about 20 in the back. They have a fast valet service during peak times, solving the problem efficiently.

You’ll find Green Hills prices at the Crows Nest, perhaps a buck or two more per item than you might pay elsewhere. Beer prices are reasonable. We paid $38 for food with tax and tip on one visit. For a lunch stop we paid $50 with two beers.

Crows Nest Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 7, 2010

Calling All Restaurants-Nashville Needs You!

The Eat Out for Nashville project scheduled for Monday, May 17 is gaining steam. So far Amerigo West End, Amerigo Cool Springs, Baja Burrito, Burger Up, Lazzaroli's and The Melting Pot have signed on. We need more restaurants to participate. Participating restaurants will donate 50% of the evening’s proceeds to the Tennessee Emergency Response Fund of the Community Fund of Middle Tennessee. “Eat Out for Nashville” is the brainchild of Doug Hogrefe, owner of Amerigo and organized by the Nashville Scene.

There is a new web address for more info. http://www.eatoutfornashville.org/ will point people to the FaceBook page with an updated list of participating restaurants.
 
Come on restaurants, join in for a good cause!

Help Clean-up Nashville Farmers Market

The Farmers Market in Nashville is looking for volunteers today, according to the Tennessean. Clean-up work will be from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Volunteers are asked to bring water to drink, sunscreen, boots and gloves if possible. Go to the north end and sign in with the guard.

There are plenty of other volunteer opportunities out there. Sign up with Hands on Nashville for a daily list.
http://www.hon.org/HomePage/index.php/home.html


The Community Foundation is one of many organizations that has started a flood relief fund: http://www.cfmt.org/index.php

Thursday, May 6, 2010

"Eat Out For Nashville" May 17

The folks at Amerigo Restaurant and the Nashville Scene are spearheading an effort for flood relief. We'll keep you up to date as restaurants join up. Here's the news release:

Nashville Restaurants and Food Media Join Together to Organize “Eat Out for Nashville” Charity Event on May 17, 2010 for Victims of Middle Tennessee Flooding

Middle Tennessee diners are invited to eat out at their favorite restaurants the evening of Monday May 17, 2010 as part of a citywide charity event to raise money for Nashville flood victims. Participating restaurants will donate 50% of the evening’s proceeds to the Tennessee Emergency Response Fund of the Community Fund of Middle Tennessee. “Eat Out for Nashville” is the brainchild of Doug Hogrefe, owner of Amerigo. As soon as the flood waters began to recede, Hogrefe looked for ways to help out displaced Middle Tennesseans and volunteers who were assisting in the recovery efforts.

“When I realized that we had been lucky to receive little damage in the flooding, I knew that I could feed individuals and small groups,” said Hogrefe. “Many other restaurants in the area were also mobilizing quickly to offer assistance to the thousands of people in need. By combining our efforts for one night on May 17, the Nashville area dining community can multiply their impact and draw even more attention to the plight of our customers and friends who need our help.”

Since this event is coming together so quickly as a grassroots effort, restaurants are being approached by local food writers and bloggers as well as their fellow restaurateurs to encourage them to participate. All sorts of establishments are invited to join the effort, from fine dining restaurants to fast casual chains. As more locations sign on, a list of participants will be maintained and publicized through local media outlets, including The Tennessean, The Nashville City Paper and The Nashville Scene. Alternative media such as www.Nashvillest.com, Twitter, FaceBook and Nashville food blogs will also share up-to-the-minute information on “Eat Out for Nashville” with their many followers. Chris Chamberlain from The Nashville Scene’s “Bites” food blog is working to coordinate the media efforts.

Proceeds from the evening will be collected by the Tennessee Emergency Response Fund of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee responds in times of disaster to connect generosity with need and has activated the Tennessee Emergency Response Fund to support relief efforts throughout Middle Tennessee necessitated by the May 1, 2010 floods. Donations of any size are welcome. Grants from the fund will support relief and restoration in areas of Middle Tennessee affected by the floods.

Hogrefe concludes, “In difficult times like these, all sectors of the community must pull together. Many of our fellow restaurants and thousands of our customers are hurting right now. The food service industry is an important part of this city as an employer and as a source of nourishment. We are confident that this group will come together as it always does when people are in need.”

For more information, email EatOutForNashville@gmail.com or call Chris Chamberlain at  (615) 852-7675.

Follow @EatOutForNash on Twitter or at http://www.facebook.com/eatoutfornashville on FaceBook.

Yazoo Taproom Flood Fundraiser Tonight

Raise a glass and help flood relief in Nashville. Yazoo Brewery reports on their blog:

We will be holding a fundraiser tomorrow, Thursday May 6th, from 4-8 PM, to benefit the Community Fund of Middle Tennessee (www.cfmt.org). 100% of all sales at our taproom will be donated to their Metro Disaster Fund. Yes, 100% of ALL sales. It's a nice round number.


To conserve water, we'll be selling pints in our Yazoo logo pub glasses, which you can take home with you. Pints will be $5, which includes tax for this night. Growlers will be $12 new/ $9 refills. CASH is very welcome as it will speed up the line.

We also plan to tap two casks of special beers we were holding back for a special occasion. One is a cask of Pale Ale dryhopped with Amarillo, another is a cask of Dos Perros aged with cocao shells from Nashville's own Olive and Sinclair Chocolate Company.

Let's see what we can do! Last time we did this we raised a lot of money for the Red Cross for Katrina relief.

Yazoo Brewery
Thursday 4-8PM

910 Division St.
Nashville
(615) 891-4649

Monday, May 3, 2010

Flooding and Restaurants

I know it sounds like a rather narrow topic considering the magnitude of this event. But we'll leave this as an open thread for anyone who wants to report damage or other flooding issues with area restaurants. The flooding will be devastating for many businesses in Tennessee. At the very least this will let patrons and others know what is occurring. For everyone with a home or business impacted, we'll be thinking of you. For any restaurant impacted- once you reopen for business send us an e-mail and we'll let folks know. In the meantime for the rest of us, it's time to pull together. Here are some links where you can help:

The Community Foundation has started a flood relief fund: http://www.cfmt.org/index.php

Hands on Nashville hooks volunteers up with those who need help: http://www.hon.org/HomePage/index.php/home.html

Sunday, May 2, 2010

King Market

Nashville Restaurants and Food
King Market
1801 Antioch Pike
Nashville
615-333-3103
http://www.kingmarketinc.food.officelive.com/

The kids are having shopping cart races in the aisles again and that’s fine with us. It’s just part of an enjoyable and laid back atmosphere that provides a good background for a leisurely lunch. King Market is a family place and that extends from the owners to the clientele. People go out shopping for groceries after church. They pick up some fresh basil and Lao sausage and then sit down in the tiny restaurant to have some pho and curry.

The menu crosses Laos, Thailand and Vietnam for an eclectic mix. The results are wonderful with bold flavors clearly aimed at a native audience. Hot here is actually hot. Start sweating a bit with the delightful Lao papaya salad. It brings to the plate spicy, pickled cabbage slaw and shredded green papaya in a sweet, sour and spicy combo. The Kang Kil Wan ordered hot will put even more sweat on the brow. The revved up coconut curry bathes bamboo shoots, Asian eggplant, bell peppers and basil. The beef is tender. Egg rolls are thick, interesting and also a little spicy.

For fun you can pick up an item or two from the little buffet line next to the counter. This morning brings fried banana and taro, a tasty and slightly greasy treat given a little pop with black sesame seeds. The fried bread is light and just a bit sweet.

Back to the restaurant side of the house: Laab is a type of meat salad made with coarse ground toasted rice. It’s served here with chicken, pork, shrimp or beef. The soups range from hot and sour Tom Yam to spicy Kao Phoun and a couple of varieties of pho. The in-store menu has some different spellings from the to-go menu, and some of these don’t match up to what you can find on the internet, so you may want to ask if you have a favorite.

At first glance there isn’t much for the Veggie Eater. A query with the young man waiting tables reveals that many dishes can have tofu substitute for meat

Veggie Eater: We started our first meal with some hot green tea; it needed to steep a bit in the pot, but once it did, it hit its stride. The menu on appearance is limited with veggie friendly options; most apps and soups have some sort of a meat component. At my first visit, I wasn’t sure how accommodating King’s would be, so I stuck to the menu and ordered Garlic Vegetables; it is exactly as it sounds; lots of vegetables, including broccoli, bamboo shoots, red peppers, cilantro, bok choy, stir fried with lots of garlic. Given the generous condiments on the table, you can basically dress it up any way you want. On my second visit, being a bit more comfortable, I outed myself as a vegetarian and asked for a suggestion. The waiter indicated virtually any of the dishes could be substituted with tofu. This being the case, I opted for the panang curry. The menu states a thick curry in coconut milk and vegetables. I don’t know that I’d call the curry thick and it was light on the coconut; it was more oily in texture than creamy. The menu indicates that it is a spicy hot item and it had a mild kick to it. Again there were carrots, broccoli florets, julienned broccoli stems, and some other greens I could not identify. The greens were not at all bitter, but had some substance to it. I went in search of the mystery greens in the produce section to identify them but alas, there were simply too many varieties that were similar in appearance and without knowing what each tastes like, I was out of luck. Again, I happily accessorized in a variety of ways to my heart’s content. Next time, I go for the noodles.

Meat Eater: It’s taken us a while to get here, so we appreciate all the prodding by readers. This is certainly one of the best Thai and Laotian experiences in the Nashville area. We paid $30 tax and tip for a ton of food on one visit and $22 for a more reasonable lunch.

King Market, Laos Thai Cafe on Urbanspoon