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Where to eat in Nashville

Monday 13 January 2014

Ahhh, Nashville. The town that stole my porky little heart. There are so many amazing places to eat, that I don't think I ate one bad meal while I was there. So let's dive in, mouth first, before my head explodes with foodie memories. 

Pub 5 

This funky spot is right in the heart of downtown, directly opposite the Bridgestone Arena and seconds from Broadway. There's a great rooftop terrace too - while we were there, people were up there spying on the set up for the CMA Awards. Inside, the place has that industrial wasteland Miss Havisham vibe that I adore, with overstuffed leather sofas and mismatching furniture. Foodwise, expect the modern American cuisine that Nashville does so well. Think cornbread fritters, prosciutto sliders, Seitan corndogs. Kale salad is everywhere in Nashville, and theirs comes with beetroots, pine nuts and goat's cheese. I mean, I didn't eat it, but it looked good.  
What I ate - poutine, which I have been super excited about eating for years (don't ask). Perfectly cooked french fries with cheese curds and gravy. There's a good selection of beers, too.  

Peg Leg Porker

Peg Leg Porker
NOW we're cooking. And we're cooking for 14 hours, low and slow over hickory smoke. Oh, the pork. I still have dreams about that pork. Glistening with smoky, sticky flecks of BBQ goodness, so tender that the meats falls away from itself. You can read what I wrote about Peg Leg's here  otherwise I'll end up waxing lyrical here for another ten pages. Just be sure to get the mac and cheese - you know it's the right thing to do. 
What I ate - pulled pork, mac and cheese, fries and Tennessee baked beans. 

12 South Taproom

If there was such a thing as a hipster magnet, an actual physical magnet that draws hipsters in like magic, this would be it. There were so many beards here. So. Many. Beards. When my food was brought out to me, I came incredibly close to accidentally saying "Thank you, hipster" But I didn't, of course. And the hipsters were all incredibly lovely, I should point out. While we were there, the guy from Lady Antebellum was in with his wife. It's also opposite Dolly Parton's house, which is so cool I could barely stand it. I think I made a poor choice while I was there - there was so much great stuff on the menu and I panicked, then looked longingly around everyone else's plates. I also made the mistake of ordering big - I was worried that 6 chicken wings wouldn't be enough, so I ordered 12. But these chickens? Must have been insanely fat, because each wing was the size of my fist.
What I ate - chicken wings with (shared) sides of mac and cheese, mixed beans and amazing roasted Brussels sprouts.
Read the menu here.

Urban Grub

I have blabbed about the brunch I had here before, but it definitely has a place on the list. It's not a traditional brunch (for that, head to the Pancake Pantry in Hillsboro) but its combination of tradition and innovation makes for a mouth watering delight. They have a whole range of bennies (eggs benedict) and specials, but I went for the most brunchy thing on the menu. There's an amazing oyster bar, which would be worth checking out. The bloody Mary was insanely good, so do plump for a cocktail.
What I ate - chicken and waffles (and bacon)
Read the menu here.

Puckett's Grocery

I ate here with jet lag starting to take effect, but it quickly pulled me out of any grogginess. The set up is half restaurant, half gig venue, with live music taking place almost every night. It's probably got the most traditionally Southern menu I came accross - there was chicken fried STEAK, for crying out loud. Fried green tomatoes, fried green beans, CHICKEN FRIED CHICKEN... you get the idea. This is where I discovered that the secret to a great white pepper gravy is bacon grease. Mmmm. Bacon grease. 
What I ate - chicken fried chicken, obviously. And a hearty glass of Hap and Harry's, my Nashville beer of choice. 

Tavern Midtown

Is that just the worst picture you've ever seen? Probably. But I'll tell you this - it was the best burger I've EVER EATEN. Seriously. Rare, juicy beef with the crispiest bacon and cheddar, in a bun that was toasted while soft. I didn't need to dislocate my jaw to eat it, but it was good and hearty. And the fries... oh, the fries. Perfectly crunchy and seasoned to hell, they were so good I can taste them now. The place was an incredibly popular dinner spot - it had a sports bar vibe, but the place was buzzing with a huge variety of people, all clustered around dark tables and booths. The cocktails were insane too - it's worth going for the balsamic martini alone. 
What I ate - a bacon cheeseburger with rosemary fries. We also finished off with s'mores, which we made ourselves over a Bunsen burner. Divine
Read the menu here.

Balsamic Martini
Now I'm off to look in my fridge and sob. 


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