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Nashville 2019 – Hattie B’s Hot Chicken

4 Jul

We have done pretty well in terms of experiencing Nashville foodwise but we still had one major piece left to try: The hot chicken sandwich. Now, for Quebecers like myself, a hot chicken sandwich means old style comfort food: shredded chicken served between white bread and covered in gravy and green peas. That is not Nashville hot chicken. In Nashville, this is a spicy fried chicken sandwich served with cole slaw, sauce and a pickle. The chicken is sauced using a cayenne powder-based spice paste. This sandwich is known for bringing some serious heat and is a must-have when in town. There are a few classic spots in town serving the sandwich. The closest to our airbnb was Hattie B’s Hot Chicken so we made our way over to see if we could handle the heat.

Hattie B’s is the more popular Hot Chicken chain at the moment so when we arrived at 1pm, we were faced with a huge line…. no choice, this was our last day to try the sandwich so we stood in-line for 90 mins (!!) to get our chance.

There is 5 spice levels available to the sandwich going from Southern (no heat) to Shut the Cluck Up (Burn Notice). I am a weakling so I chickened out and went to Medium only. The sandwich comes with one side. I went with the pimento mac and cheese and my buddy went with the red skin potato salad. Both were excellent sides – the salad is the perfect creamy side to cool off the heat of the chicken. I loved the mac and cheese as well – very gooey and creamy with the hint of heat from the pimento.

But honestly…. you don’t care about the sides, do you? What about the sandwich, you ask? The sandwich was excellent as a fried chicken sandwich. Great crunch to the chicken, very tender meat inside. The bread is nicely buttered and toasted and the slaw is a nice cooling agent. The heat on the chicken…. is something strong. Even medium, there is a heck of a kick at the end that hits right between the eyes. The friend went hotter than me but yeah it stings.

The hot chicken is a Nashville staple and a necessary stop for all foodies. Hattie B’s was an excellent version of the sandwich. Just plan yourself enough time to give it a try – because you won’t be the only one dying to try one.

Cheers!

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken
Various Locations
Nashville, TN

Hattie B's Hot Chicken Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Nashville 2019 – Rolf and Daughters

1 Jul

Coming back from Memphis, we had another night free for a dinner. Given our success with my pick of Husk the night before, I was given carte blanche to pick a different spot to try. Looking at all of the great restaurants that Nashville has to offer (which are quite a few), I decided to go with something outside of the ‘typical’ Southern fare but a current staple of the Nashville food scene, Chef Philip Krajeck’s Rolf and Daughters.

Located in a former boiling house at the Werthan Factory in the Germantown neighbourhood, Rolf and Daughters put Chef Krajeck on the map in Nashville and he has become a multiple winner of the James Beard award since. The restaurant is known for its mediterranean inspired cuisine using local Tennessee ingredients and producers. Chef Krajeck’s homemade pastas are particularly noteworthy apparently.

The space is a beautiful mix of industrial and modern touches. Being the late service on a weekday, the restaurant wasn’t too crowded. I will give tons of credit to our waiter – he was sharp, on-point and bitterly funny and dry with a sort of midwest/Minnesota nice accent that we throughly enjoyed all night. His cocktails choice were also excellent – I loved how all the house cocktails were named for school things. A quirky but fun detail.

Now, onto the food. We were quite hungry so we covered lots of ground menu wise. The house-made loaf of sourdough bread served with seaweed butter was excellent – great crust on the outside with a soft yeast interior.

The salad of red beet, kohlrabi, dill and smoked roe was great. The red beets were super sweet and tender. The dill and roe provided some freshness and bite to the dish as well.

The dry aged beef tartare mixed with black garlic and sprouted lentils was unique for us for the use of the lentils in the tartare. It provided an interesting textural component to the dish. The beef had a great deep rich flavour and the black garlic provided a nice kick as well.

Our final appetizer featured something I had never heard of before: agretti. This small Italian-in-origin herb tastes somewhat like spanish and was served to us slightly cooked down mixed with golden raisin, chili and anchovies. This dish was quite something – a wonderful mix of sweetness, spiciness, richness and freshness. Something I never would have considered simply by reading the menu but very happy that I got our waiter to explain it to us. My favourite dish of the first part of the meal.

Given Chef Krajeck is known for his pastas, of course, we ordered a couple of his staples within our main courses. First was the cecamariti served using cultured butter and black pepper like a cacio e pepe dish. The pasta was super tender but wow that sauce…. it tastes like one of the best cacio e pepe sauces I’ve ever had but there is zero cheese. It is all the cultured butter. It has the creamy richness with the bite of the pepper you want. So so good.

The second pasta we tried was the garganelli verde served with a heritage pork ragout and sarvecchio parmesan. Again, the pasta itself was excellent texture wise and the ragout was superb – very rich and hearty. It is funny that some of the best dishes I’ve had were in Nashville but hey props to them for nailing these dishes so well.

Our last main ventured away from pasta as we tried the pastured chicken served with preserved lemon and garlic confit. The chicken was super tender and moist. The combination of the lemon, garlic, butter and tarragon provided a nice bright and rich pairing with the chicken. Very well executed.

After all of that we still wanted some dessert so we split 3 of their 4 offerings. First up, the one that we enjoyed but that wasn’t as impacted as the others – the Japanese cheesecake with pine put, strawberries and sorrel. Beautiful presentation, the flavour was fine but we didn’t love the texture – a little too ‘dry’ for our liking.

The next two though….. first, the sourdough ice cream topped with huckleberries and chocolate. Yeah sourdough ice cream sounds weird but man it worked so well. Very cool yeast flavour came through within the ice cream. Chocolate and berry topping always works well with ice cream so that was a perfect adjunct to the dish.

The last dessert was even crazier – a rhubarb granita served with a sake mousse, mint sorbet and almond. The real star here was the mousse – so light and fluffy with the unmistakable notes of sake. Our waiter described it as a cloud and yeah that’s right. It complemented well the freshness of the mint sorbet and the sourness of the rhubarb. Excellent finish to our meal.

Rolf and Daughters has high praise around Nashville and I can see why. Excellent service, beautiful space and food that really surprises and delights whose are open to try some different stuff. The 3 of us left full and very happy to have made our way out to Germantown to experience something a little different than what we had planned for when we decided to visit Nashville. This was an excellent experience and definitely worth a stop. In the end, it is the meal I will remember most of our time in Nashville.

Cheers!

Rolf and Daughters
700 Taylor Street
Nashville, TN
615 866 9897

Rolf and Daughters Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Nashville 2019 – Husk

26 Jun

When planning our Boys trip to Nashville, there was one place I wanted badly to try out for dinner. I had heard about Husk and Chef Sean Brock through some articles and most recently the last season of Chef’s Table. Although he is not longer really involved with Husk since 2018, I loved the premise of how Husk looked to reconnect with the basic tenants of Southern cuisine and heirlooms ingredients. My knowledge of Southern cuisine from Montreal leans heavily towards fried chicken, bbq, etc. so the idea of a ‘different’ kind of Southern meal really intrigued me. So I convinced my friends that Husk would be our first dinner in Nashville.

Located on Rutledge Hill, a few blocks south of the ‘Historic’ Nashville and Broadway St, Husk is housed in an old Southern home built between 1879 and 1882 that at one point was the home of Mayor Richard Houston Dudley when he was first elected in 1897. The house is beautiful and evokes that old Southern mansion feel with the high ceiling, crown mouldings, old fireplaces and its old arched brick entranceway and porch. The kitchen is open in the middle of the first floor and there are different seating areas elsewhere in the house – including a bar area in the basement.

As mentioned before, Husk is all about exploring the reality of Southern food through the use of heirloom items, in-house pickling and charcuterie creation amongst other means. The menu is an interesting mix of ‘classic’ Southern dishes and dishes that use local producers and ingredients to create some cool plates with a Southern bend.

Our appetizers were an interesting blend of these ideas. First up, a more refined take on shrimp and grits – beautifully tender shrimp with some rich and creamy cheesy grits. A perfect combination that finally made sense to me trying here in this setting.

We then had the hickory smoked wings with Alabama white sauce. The wings were crispy and tender. I loved the spice mix overtop which provided tons of smoky heat. This was paired with the Alabama White Sauce which is a zesty and tangy white BBQ sauce which I had never had before but found to be wonderful with the smoky hot wings.

We shared a hearth cornbread as well which was excellent – not too dry and had a nice sweetness and hardiness to it. I’ve always enjoyed cornbread so it was great to finally one in its area of origin.

Lastly for the starters, we had a plate of Tennessee charcuterie with cheddar biscuits, spicy rilettes and pickles. The charcuterie was excellent – tons of great rich flavours and textures. The spicy rillettes were excellent as well and I just love a good cheddar biscuit – super buttery and flaky with that hint of cheesy goodness. Round 1 was in the books and we were very happy so far.

Our mains continued the great use of local southern produce. First up, we had some North Carolina catfish served with blue barley berry cornbread, peaches, snap peas and basil butter. The fish was amazing – super flaky and tender. The cornbread was more of a corn pancake but excellent regardless. The peaches added a touch of sweetness and the basil butter was super interesting – a combination of richness but with a hint of coolness and freshness. Excellent dish all around.

Our second dish was seared Bear Creek Farm beef served with Farmer Dave tomatoes, ramp kraut and embered okra. Personally for the table, the thickness of the beef was such that it was served a little too rare which made it less enjoyable to chew. The rest of the dish was excellent – I really loved trying okra in this fashion. It had none of the sliminess that many people associate with that vegetable.

Our main final was grilled Bear Creek Farm pork served with Farmer Dave spaghetti squash, smoked spring onion and pork belly. An excellent cut of meat cooked perfectly. I loved the addition of the pork belly overtop to provide a different texture and that paired well with the sweetness from the smoked onion.

After all of this, we were stuffed but we saw this on the dessert menu and couldn’t help but want to try it: Oatmeal raisin cookie soft serve with RC cola marshmallow and rum raisin caramel. A very unique idea for ice cream but the flavour really came through and caramel and the sweet marshmallow with the little roasted top matched well to it. Great finish for our meal.

Husk met my expectations and become a wonderful discovery for my friends. It was great to try Southern cuisine in a different way than what I was used to. We left full, happy and looking forward to what else Nashville had in store for us.

Cheers!

Husk
37 Rutledge St.
Nashville, TN
615 256 6565

Husk Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Nashville 2019 – Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint

25 Jun

Earlier this month, I spent an amazing 5 days in Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee for a boys trip. And of course, I had to find some great options for food. First up, we needed some BBQ so I looked up the best BBQ joints in Nashville and thus we found ourselves at Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint where they do whole hog BBQ West Tennessee style – smoked starting the day before, not sauced pre-serving and served with a vinegar-based sauce.

There are multiple locations across Nashville and even further in Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky and South Carolina. We went to the downtown location located a few blocks south of Broadway St. The space is an old warehouse and has a very cool beer garden vibe to it including a beautiful 2nd floor outdoor seating, bar and stage area. The ordering process is pretty simple – you get in-line, order at the counter and then find a seat. The servers will find you using a number card.

Being three guys, we decided to cover as many options as we could within reason. We decided on plates of baby back ribs, pulled pork shoulder and sliced beef brisket. Each meat plate came with 2 sides of your choice. We made a slight mistake and ordered the same side twice but otherwise we covered most of the side options through our choices.

Our first plate was the ribs served with baked beans and french fries. The ribs were absolutely delicious – very tender, awesome smoke ring to them and covered in a smoky sweet BBQ sauce. The fries were solid with a good crunch to them but still tender and nicely seasoned from the beginning. The baked beans were a huge hit with a deep rich smoky flavour. Honestly some of the best I have ever had in a restaurant.

Our second plate was the pulled pork shoulder with an cornbread hoecake and the mac n’ cheese. The pulled pork looks dry in the picture but that is because there is no sauce to them. Believe me though, the pork was super tender. The vinegar sauce added a nice kick and brightness to the pork without overpowering the inherent flavour of the pork. The hoecake is essentially a cornmeal pancake which was fine but nothing special honestly. The mac n’cheese was not as gooey as I would have liked but the flavour was nice regardless.

The final plate saw us try the sliced beef brisket with some vinegar slaw. The slaw was fine overall but the real star here was the brisket – by far the best thing we had in this meal. Super amazing smoke ring on the beef, great deep flavour and super tender texture to the beef. Simply amazing.

This was our first meal in Nashville and oh man was it a great start. Super amazing Tennessee BBQ all around. If ever you are in Nashville, you should definitely head to Martin’s.

Cheers!

Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint
Various Locations
Nashville, TN

Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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