Sunday, June 30, 2013

France in Whites Creek and New Orleans in East Nashville

Nashville Restaurants and Food
France in Whites Creek and New Orleans in East Nashville

Chelsea Bistro

You have probably heard of urban homesteading, but what about rural restaurant-steading? That's the story behind the unlikely pairing of a French bistro with the Northwest Davidson County neighborhood of Whites Creek. Josh Rew and Garrett Pittler are opening the Chelsea Bistro at the top of Germantown Hill on Clarksville Highway, which is really more Joelton, but technically Whites Creek. We have to admit, we never thought we would see a sign that says "Cuisine Francaise" in our quiet backwater. None of it makes much sense, until you talk to Pittler and he shows you around the place. The Chelsea Bistro is still a few weeks away from opening. Pittler, though, is getting ready, not only in the front of the house, with a complete makeover of the space formerly occupied by several pizza places, but also in the way-back of the house. The Executive Chef has a robust garden going, thanks to truck loads of soil, and the current plantings will make the fresh ingredients for his ratatouille.

Pittler says they plan a neighborhood bistro with traditional Franco cafe classics: croque madame, croque monsieur and coq au vin. Sandwiches, fresh veggies and French comfort food served at a reasonable price-point sound great to us. Sure, the location is a bit odd, but why should staking out a new neighborhood in Joelton be any different from pioneering in an urban food desert in Nashville? It takes guts to try new things and we'll join Rew and Pittler in the effort. Vive la France a Joelton! We'll update you on the opening.

Much of the credit for opening up Northwest Davidson County has to go to the folks at the Fontanel. The restaurant and beautiful concert venue encourages new enterprises. Pritchard's Distillery will be starting up a satellite location on the Fontanel grounds soon. Ten years ago if you had told us that Sigur Ros would be playing Whites Creek and we'd have a French restaurant opening at the top of Germantown Hill, we would have scheduled you for a psychiatric visit. Oh, and we're getting the Alabama Shakes at the Fontanel as well! Very cool.

Tenn Sixteen

Tenn Sixteen restaurant in East Nashville has just opened with a New Orleans vibe. We say vibe, rather than theme, because it takes the best of New Orleans: funky, stylish, lively and combines it with Southern and Nashville touches for a unique approach that seems like tailor-made fun for Five Points. Sure, you'll find lamps made of Mardi Gras beads and a few other obvious decor choices. Otherwise, the art work and feel of the place just reminds us of something you might find in the cooler parts of the French Quarter. They have a big wrap-around bar and dozens of beer choices. We can't keep our eyes off the line of iced-drink machines sitting quietly, and as yet unused, at the back of the bar. Perhaps a daiquiri ensemble in the making? We'll take ours in a to-go cup please. Sadly, we can't do that in Metro- yet. I propose that Five Points becomes an alcohol carry-out zone...a ped mall of booze and food. Are you listening Mayor Dean?

I digress. The Tenn-Sixteen menu also incorporates tastes of the Big Easy without letting them dominate. Sure, you can find po' boys and gumbo. The fried green tomatoes, Jalapeno cornbread and Gorgonzola and mushroom stuffed meatloaf, though, speak to a nuevo-Southern thing and that shows that the kitchen has freedom to create. A Nashville hot chicken entree will have to be next up for sampling. They've only been open a week and our first visit was a great start. The location and the execution bodes well for Tenn Sixteen. Once the word gets out, this place will be hopping.  We'll be back a few weeks down the road and have a review.

Tenn Sixteen
1016 Woodland Street