Nashville Originals' Nashville Restaurant Week kicks off today, ending Sunday, January 26th.
The annual celebration of Music City cuisine, according to their official website, is "dedicated to sustaining the independent restaurant as a fixture of Nashville’s culture and community. Together, the Originals support local initiatives and charities, as well as the growing culinary community that continues to enjoy national acclaim." 17 local restaurants are participating in the week, including Fenwick's 300, Puckett's, Germantown Cafe, and more.
Since you're probably unable to sample all 17 restaurants in a week (although kudos if you do it!!!), here's a few combos to go out of your way for this week.
GERMANTOWN CAFE - 1200 5th Ave N
Mac and Cheese appetizer, Crab Cakes, New York Style Cheesecake
The whole menu at Germantown Cafe is amazing, but this combo I think gives you a good balance of protein and carbs (the mac and cheese app is a must, and I needed something to balance it out), while not missing out on one of the best parts of the menu...THE CHEESECAKE!! The "Chef's Cheesecake" constantly evolves, but this week the focus is on just a standard perfect slice of New York-Style Cheesecake with whipped cream.
By the way, in general, if you're looking for good seafood in Nashville, this is a great place to start. I went with Crab Cakes here, but the Swordfish is also excellent and on the NRW menu. The scallops are delectable as well, but they don't make this week's special menu.
BAVARIAN BIERHAUS - 121 Opry Mills Dr
Small Pretzel with Sweet Mustard, Braised Veal Goulash Served with a Serviette Dumpling
I'm a little biased here because I LOVE German food, and there's really no overthinking this. The Nashville Restaurant Week menu at Bavarian Bierhaus has two items - a pretzel with sweet mustard, and a veal goulash. And both are fantastic and authentically German, and they'll set you back just $25 this week.
Of course you can go off the NRW menu and enjoy German favorites like bratwurst and schnitzel, and it wouldn't be a Bierhaus without a huge selection of German beer.
MIDTOWN CAFE (LUNCH MENU) - 102 19th Ave S
Lemon Artichoke Soup, Roasted Pork Tenderloin marinated Memphis style served with domestic mushroom risotto, grilled asparagus and plum demi
Okay, two things to note here. 1) Midtown Cafe's breakfast is AMAZING, but it's not included as a Nashville Restaurant Week special. 2) I really wanted to go with the Coca-Cola BBQ Beef Short Rib as an entree, because there's nothing else like it. But I'm going to have a barbecue dish coming up, so I needed to mix it up a little bit.
Let's start with Lemon Artichoke Soup. It sounds weird. But it's INCREDIBLY tasty, especially this time of year when it's sort of drab and dreary. It's a little tart, but not overpowering, and adds an element of brightness that you won't get with most soups.
The pork tenderloin, to me, is the next best entree on the menu after the beef short rib, although the shrimp and grits gives you a little less heavy alternative.
Get two courses for $15.20 during Nashville Restaurant Week. Check out their full menu here (there's a separate dinner menu)
PUCKETT'S - Downtown Nashville or Downtown Franklin
House Salad, Smoked Beef Short Rib, Cobbler of the Day
Three courses for $20.20 at one of my favorite restaurants in Nashville. You remember how I mentioned that I had a barbecue dish coming up? Let's just be real...very few people do barbecue as well as Puckett's (although Martin's IS fantastic). I just can't in good faith put another restaurant's BBQ over Puckett's during Nashville Restaurant Week.
That said, their other two NRW entrees are equally appetizing - chicken and waffles and a portabella burger. But I can't go to Puckett's and not have the short rib. Sorry.
Also, add the cobbler at the end. The other dessert option is a buttermilk beignet and it's to die for....but the cobbler just adds to the "Grandma's House" down-home comfort that you go to Puckett's for.
GREEN HILLS GRILLE - 2002 Richard Jones Rd #104A
Fried Pimento Cheese, Bleu Cheese Filet, Chocolate Decadence with Raspberry Sorbet
I wanted to give you five meals, and I felt like I was missing a steak, and with all due respect to Cabana, Mere Bulles, and Deacon's, I'll give the nod this week to the filet at Green Hills Grille.
I never said these were healthy meals, and I'm leaning all the way in with this combo, but life's too short to always eat healthy, and the fried pimento cheese is one of the most unique but memorable things you'll ever put in your mouth. And up to this point I've given you no chocolate, which pains me, so no offense to the Heath Bar Crunch Pie that's also on their menu, but chocolate wins.
Fast for a day, the enjoy the 3-course meal at GHG for $36.20 this week.
Honorable mention dishes to the Tuscan Farro at Scout's Pub, the breakfast tacos at Fenwick's 300, and the sweet tea-brined pork chop at The Yellow Porch.
What are your favorite dishes from Nashville Restaurant Week? Check out the list of participating restaurants here and Happy Eating!