Sunday, February 10, 2013

Fat Bottom Brewing Taproom

Nashville Restaurants and Food
Fat Bottom Brewing Taproom
900 Main Street

The trend of high-quality food in a casual setting has been one of the better developments in the Nashville food scene in recent years. Fat Bottom Brewing continues in that mode with their new taproom and beer garden. Outside you’ll probably notice the Fluffo mattress sign more than the Fat Bottom logo. Rest assured- there is a brewery and more inside. The taproom is reminiscent of an old German beer hall, complete with dark, rough-hewn wood and dim lighting. It’s a fitting surrounding to taste their beers. The Bertha Oatmeal stout is bitter more than sweet, which is a nice twist for a stout these days considering all of the milk versions out there. The Belgian ale is crisp and a bit sweet. The Ginger is an excellent touch to the American Wheat Ale. The Black Betty Black IPA was a favorite of ours- unusual in the dark and hoppy mix and quite good. All of these beers have an original flavor and, of course, the signature lady names.

Fat Bottom was quite busy on each of our visits. Pull up to the big, blocky natural wood bar and heft one of the heaviest bar stools in Nashville into place and you’re ready for drinking and eating. If you’d prefer a table, there are plenty available. We’re really looking forward to see what the subterranean, Christmas light bedecked beer garden is like in warmer weather. It looks like a party waiting to happen.

The food lineup is certainly not bargain food but generally worth the money. Start with a $17 cheese plate. Our visit brought a Rogue blue, pepper pecorino and a couple of the other paired choices from the revolving artisanal line up. The plate is served with chewy Provence brown bread and cranberry chutney. Potato wedges are thick, pan fried and well-seasoned. We also enjoyed the crisp house made pickles. The Blue Burger came out perfectly medium-rare with sweet caramelized onions and blue cheese. The crumbly bun oozes together with the juicy burger for a real treat. Another visit and I order Bangers and Champ. The Porter Road Butcher bangers are excellent and authentic with that specific creamy-mealy consistency favored in British sausages. The Champ, an Irish mashed potato dish done in an Americanized and quite tasty version, is the perfect accompaniment.

Fat Bottom doesn't offer a wide menu choice and that means things are a bit limited for the Veggie eater.

Veggie Eater: The ambience is lovely, especially on a cold winter’s night. It is toasty warm and buzzing with activity, including Preds fans happy to have a season again. You’ll find your head bobbing along to music, such as the Strokes and White Stripes. I love the fact that the beer menu includes the IBU info on each beer, so you can choose to steer away from the current zealotry of over hopped beers if desired. Given limited menu options and even fewer veggie options, I was saddened when initially informed the falafel burger was sold out. But alas, one final patty remained. This is a well spiced version with lots of cumin and garlic, though I found it a little too moist. It was generously topped with my favorite green- arugula, and pickles. It’s an amply sized affair. The next time out I had a spinach mushroom quesadilla, stuffed ,needless to say with the aforementioned ingredients (spinach was sautéed), and served with an arugula, queso fresco, and carrot salad and topped with a fresh, tart, and slightly spicy fresh salsa. The quesadilla was nicely toasted and again, more than enough for a meal (and perhaps 2). The items tend to be a bit pricey but are fairly portioned. It’s fun to watch the folks work out of a dorm sized kitchen while producing such well thought out bar food.

Meat Eater: It’s amazing what these folks do with what has to be the tiniest kitchen in Nashville. Watch as they prepare the food and you’ll witness an impressive dance of cooks in the tight quarters kitchen. It's most likely the reason for the tight menu. We paid $32 on one visit and $62.83 for a wild drinking and eating spree on another visit. You certainly don’t have to spend a lot of money. However, it is easy enough to do if you don’t watch out.
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