Thursday, February 3, 2011

Valentine’s Day Picks 2011

Nashville Restaurants and Food
Valentine’s Day Picks 2011

Love Nashville style! We offer three ideas this year for Valentine’s Day dining: Creative and precisely executed twists on southern traditions; bold flavors that tingle the tongue and heat up the room; and low light ambiance, small plates for sharing and a glass of wine.

1. The Capitol Grille

The Capitol Grille has become our go-to restaurant for special occasions. Executive Chef Tyler Brown has the place firing on all cylinders. In the front of the house, they present deft, friendly service from a knowledgeable staff. Start in the Oak Room bar with a glass of wine. In fact, you could even stay at the bar and have an entire meal of American classics gone upscale: pimento grilled cheese, deviled eggs, pork sliders and even a Brunswick stew (on normal days, check to see for V-Day). In the Capitol Grille itself, you can expect bold takes on Southern tradition. The House Cured Country Ham Chowder has the powerful flavors of a Tennessee smokehouse gone creamy and silky. A Niman Ranch pork chop is exceedingly tender and features a subtle smoke. While limited, there are always menu items for veggie eaters, including an entrée and at least one tangy salad option, like the Lola Rosa salad with goat cheese, pecans and blood orange. Just make sure you ask about preparation for some of the sides. The Valentine’s Day has just been released. It includes the Lola Rosa salad, Seared Lamb Loin and Maine Lobster Terrine. For the non-fish eating Veggie Eaters we would suggest a call to reservations. While there is no vegetarian entrée listed, every time we have called they were quite willing to come up with something special.

2. Ginger

Spice has been equated with love throughout history. Ginger offers a bit of heat and a lot of depth in its spicy dishes and we think that’s a recipe for romance. Sure, this isn’t the place to bring a new date if you’re trying to impress them. Ginger is a laid back, modest restaurant serving up good food. That sounds like the perfect spot for the married couple and long time daters. The curries have a great depth of flavor and decent heat. They will take it up a few notches, or down a few, on request. Make sure you ask about dessert. They have a number of interesting possibilities.

3. Belcourt Taps and Tapas

This Hillsboro Village restaurant had a few hiccups in the first few weeks, which is the case with many restaurants. The service, food and price point all improved quickly. One thing that was never in doubt was the ambiance. The warm, romantically dark room is a great place to enjoy a glass of wine and some conversation. Share a few small plates, have another glass of wine. Those dishes are Southern and European inspired, but this is not a Spanish joint. We suggest the fried chicken, drizzled with ancho chili honey and served with sausage scones. The house-made tater tots with onion with chipotle ketchup sound silly until you taste them.


nancy at good food matters said...

love your picks, and have to throw one of my faves into the ring--The Silly Goose has posted a stunning 5 course menu for Valentines on their website that would please meat and veggie eaters alike--$50pp, byob, 3 seatings...

Eric and Katie said...

Nancy...thanks for the tip, that sounds fantastic...we always love the Silly Goose.

JMH said...

Unfortunately, TSG was booked as of Tuesday! I tried to make a reservation to no avail.

Thanks for the other recs!

Eric and Katie said...

JMH: That's a bummer, that menu does sound good. That's why we wanted to get people thinking about V-Day now....restaurants seem to book up far in advance for V-Day these days.

shannon said...

Holland House has a great menu as well. And it's very reasonible priced, $30. I'm pretty excited about their new happy hour deal too. Drink specials & a complimentary food bar 5-6:30 pm. Mon-Fri.


oysters on the half-shell, chincoteaque salts

braised beef cheek, rapini puree, lemon, lentils

frisee salad, frozen grapes, lardons, parmesan crostini, beurre blanc

wedding soup

filet of beef carpaccio, lemon, sea salt, citrus oil, arugula


peppercorn-crusted new york stip, braised leek, sauteed tomato, basil, mashed potato

pan-seared quail, valpolicella demiglace, wild rice

seared tuna, soba noodle, dashi broth, bean sprout

fettucini primavera of zucchini, shallot, squash, brocoli


{truffles} ~ spicy dark chocolate, white chocolate mimosa with hazelnutcreme brulee

buttermilk panna cotta with key lime curd and tuile (fancy baby cookie)

red velvet cake, chocolate mousse, peanut butter dust

citrus-fried cheesecake

Eric and Katie said...

Shannon...Holland House would be a good spot for a lively V-Day dinner. I think great cocktails and love go hand in hand!