Sunday, September 30, 2012

Stone Fox First Look

Nashville Restaurants and Food
The Stone Fox First Look

Cool, laid back and unpretentious describe the DIY vibe at the Stone Fox, the new bar, restaurant and music club in West Nashville. We had our first look on Saturday and enjoyed the heck out of the place. On this sunny day, with dozens of folks filling the bar, parking lot and beer garden for a PseudoMoto motorcycle event, it felt like a little bit of Austin, Texas had settled in Nashville. Despite the rush, the bar staff kept pace with amazing ability, especially considering the place has only been open for a week. That skill extends to the service and execution in the kitchen. It's a succinct and inventive bar menu with plenty for meat eaters and vegetarians alike. Grilled jackfruit turns out to be an excellent stand-in for pulled pork on the BBQ nachos. The menu describes everything in detail, even down to vegan and gluten-free options. Roasted pumpkin bisque felt right in step with the change in weather.

An eclectic beer selection and a decent set of whiskey and other liquor offerings show them off to a good start. Be sure to check out the excellent Joey's bloody Mary.

Courtney Tidwell opened music at the club last week and there promises to be more quality entertainment in the future. Siblings William and Elise Tyler own the joint. William Tyler is a Nashville alt-music guitar veteran and even has a band with sister Elise. We really appreciate the location of this club. Many have commented that West Nashville is destined for a renaissance and the Stone Fox can help lead the way. We'll be back and have a review once they've had more time to settle in.

The Stone Fox
712 51st Avenue
Nashville
615-953-1811
www.thestonefoxnashville.com

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Peppers and BE Hive

Nashville Restaurants and Food
Peppers and BE Hive

It's a pepper extravaganza at local farmers' markets these days. The West Nashville Farmers' Market even featured a pepper village this weekend, basically a special section of the market for everything pepper. Folks were selling pepper jelly, the infamous ghost peppers, fresh ground pepper and, of course, many varieties of fresh peppers.

We indulged in a wonderful Tofu McBagel crafted by the gentlemen who run BE Hive. It's basically a pop-up restaurant concept with a big emphasis on food awareness They have been doing buffet dinners by taking over the Wild Cow vegetarian restaurant every now and then. The next dinner is Tuesday, September 25 from 4pm to 9pm. They've also been making the rounds of local farmers' markets. The McBagel was better than anything that could ever be had at the golden arches. It's a grilled bagel face bagel with tofu, veggies and an amazing aioli that put it over the top. We look forward to sampling more of the BE Hive veggie specialties in coming weeks.

www.facbook.com/thebehive

www.bethehive.com

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hot Chicken in the West End

Nashville Restaurants and Food
Hot Chicken in the West End


Hattie B’s is open and hopping on 19th street, across the street from the Broadway Brewhouse. A first look found a large covered deck, a tight, roadhouse-style interior and a well-run kitchen. The chicken comes in Southern for no heat and turns it up to hot and damn hot for those who like it seriously spicy. The medium was akin to the Prince’s medium in not only heat, but also style. You get a ton a chicken for your dollar and it’s good stuff. The sides and desserts are house made and also stand out from the crowd. Hattie B’s was busy on Sunday for lunch and we expect given the location (not much for hot chicken on the West End) and the quality, that trend will continue. I’ll get back and have a full review soon.

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken

112 19th Avenue South

Nashville

6150678-4795

www.hattieb.com

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Lockeland Table

Nashville Restaurants and Food
Lockeland Table
1520 Woodland Street
Nashville
615-228-4864
www.lockelandtable.com

A restaurant nestled in a residential neighborhood might seem like a conflict waiting to happen and yet at Lockeland Table it seems to work. While we can’t speak for the neighbors, the place does seem to fit the billing as a “community kitchen and bar”. Two young girls ride their bikes down the sidewalk as we dine al-fresco one night. The laid-back and warm feel of the place seems to fit the East Nashville neighborhood of Lockeland Springs in both style and spirit.

Inside, you’ll find an upscale dining room enhanced by the ever-popular natural wood interior. The glowing wood oven and open kitchen share close quarters with diners and the elegant, small bar. That makes for a festive scene on a Friday night when we luck into an open table without reservations. Our suggestion is that you don’t try your luck- make those reservations.

It’s a mix and match sharing of dishes by our party of three. The carrot and beet salad this night is deconstructed in presentation and while the individual taste of citrus vinaigrette on micro greens is welcome, it still comes across as a bit haphazard. They have a nice selection of regional cheeses, including the ubiquitous and yet always welcome Kenny’s and Noble Springs offerings. We choose the more unusual offerings including a Blackberry Farm sheep’s milk and Sequatchie Cove tomme.

An heirloom tomato, caramelized onion and spinach pizza is so ethereal in lightness that it almost passes beyond pizza to something else entirely. We had hoped for more substantial toppings. While we understand the move toward delicate Italian-style pizzas, there is a still a balance that must be achieved. The Mac and cheese is a knockout- smoky, mellow and with exceptional flavor. French fries also hit the spot: rough cut, salty and served with a nice aioli.

You can achieve a small plate effect by sticking with starters, which is what the Meat Eater chose to do on the second visit. Korean beef tacos were authentically simple- house made corn tortillas (double-stacked, of course) with just cilantro and radish. The wonderful marinated beef takes center stage. General Hal’s chicken is Chef and Owner Hal Holden-Bache’s playful take on Chinese takeout. The chicken pieces are small and crispy. The sweet, sticky sauce is certainly reminiscent of higher quality take-out. The pomegranate sweet spots and marmalade glaze is tasty.

Veggie Eater: I was hankering for comfort food during one of our visits, so starting with queso and chips fit the bill. The queso was mild and mellow (southwesterny-Ed.), but the chips were the star of this dish. They were freshly fried and lightly dusted with a chili/lime powder with just a subtle hint of salt. Next up, was the Bibb salad with bacon on the side for Meat Eater. Meat Eater kept stating he wished I could taste the salad with the Benton’s bacon, but I was happy without it. The greens were topped with a light and tangy buttermilk bleu cheese dressing, thanks to Kenny’s blue. There were dabs of red pepper jam and fried green tomatoes to mix it up. The tomatoes were perfectly cooked; juicy and crispy; summer at its best . Last, but not least, I opted for the rigatoni with seasonal veggies. Roasted veggies (eggplant, squash, corn, spinach, cherry tomatoes) and pasta were bathed in an herby cream sauce and topped with uber crunchy garlic bread crumbs. Given my excess earlier in the meal, there was more than enough for lunch the next day. Minor quibbles included the flies on one visit (no outdoor fans to keep them at bay) and the unwillingness of staff to seat out outside on our first visit due to the possibility of rain (despite radar confirmation that this was no longer an issue). We had almost given up on finding it on our first visit and I’m glad we didn’t.

Meat Eater: It’s really not that tough to find, but well outside of any commercial zone on Woodland. I kept picking at her excellent rigatoni during dinner. The inventive cocktails are well-balanced and they have a good wine and beer selection. This is a nice addition to East Nashville and one more reason that East Nashville has become our home away from home.

We paid $75 with tax, tip and drinks for three people on one visit and $63 for two people on another visit.