Nashville - Convenient to Renaissance Hotel/Convention Center
Going to be in Nashville for a convention Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night next week and am looking for recommendations convenient to the Renaissance Nashville Hotel and Convention Center. I will have a car, but am not that familiar with the city, so would like places that are either within walking distance or easy to find. I may be eating on my own or with colleagues, so recommendations where a woman would feel comfortable eating alone (and walking to alone) would be great. Also, the company is trying to keep expenses down, so nothing too expensive.
Others who spend more time actually downtown can probably help with good choices within walking distance of the Renaissance/Convention Center, but I would recommend hitting the "Gulch" area for a few great meals. They are centered around 12th Avenue just south of Broadway and are a bit far to walk in Nashville (especially alone) but are excellent. Radius 10 http://www.radius10.com/ has fantastic food with an amazing chef (also owner) I would feel comfortable there alone (either in the bar area or at a dining table) or with friends/colleagues. They have a great happy hour from 5-7 in the bar, but also mention the ad in The Scene for 25% off the entire menu during the same time (entrees included). His specialty is his shrimp/scallops/grits (he spent lots of time at 30-A in the Seaside area and also opened Fish out of Water at Water Color) and it's great. Another favorite is Flyte http://www.flytenashville.com/ which also has a happy hour from 4:30 -- 6:30 (I'm mentioning these since you mentioned not wanting to spend a lot; it's a great way to check out one of the nicer restaurants without spending $30/entree) but I believe it's in the bar area only so you could get a nice glass of wine and sample some appetizers. I would feel comfortable at the bar alone there but don't walk from the hotel; it's next door neighbor is the Rescue Mission. Most things there are fresh/organic and they have some interesting things. Sambuca, Watermark, and RuSan's (chain/sushi) are also located in that area in the Gulch. (Flyte is actually a couple of streets over but in the same vicinity.)
If you're staying downtown, you might as well check out some of the "honkey tonks"...Robert's and Tootsie's along with the Stage are probably the best. Rippy's BBQ also has live music with typical BBQ fare. These are walking distance from the hotel.
Just on the other side of 12th (north of Broadway) is a great place called Judge Beans http://www.judgebeans.com/ that is authentic Texas brisket, cold beer and usually live music. The food is great, inexpensive and the atmosphere is fun. My favorite are the brisket wraps and there are lots of things to share; I think this place would be more fun with a group vs. going it alone.
If you like sushi, Tenno on 6th Ave (I think) has been around forever and is good but definitely not quick so don't go in a rush. You could walk there from the hotel I think.
This should help get you started and hopefully generate some conversations on the boards. Hope you enjoy your visit.
JCR is right that the Gulch is fun and has good food, but it's about a six-block walk up a hill, then down into a railroad gulch, so I wouldn't do it in heels (although I have done) and I might not do it alone late at night (although I did it last month), especially if I didn't know the area. It's not dangerous, but might take some navigating.
Judge Beans would normall be a good choice.However, they just failed their health department re-test. It's one thing to fail the initial inspection, another to fail the re-inspection.
Right there downtown you're sort of in Tourist-ville. So there's a Joe's Crab Shack (everything is frozen and fried), and Palm (expensive) and Merchant's (expensive-ish, but not as expensive as the Palm).
Cheaper and nearer to your hotel (which is at 7th and Commerce, I believe) is a Big River Brewery at Second and Broadway, a good Japanese place on Second called Ichiban, and a good lunch-only Baja-Mexican place called Chile Burrito on about Fourth and Church, around the corner from the Convention Center
There is a Japanese/sushi place on Sixth that was called Koto. JCR says it's called Tenno -- I haven't been in a year so it could be anything. If it's related to the Tenno out West End, it should have superb sushi.
San Antonio Taco Company is on Commerce between Second and Third. I haven't eaten at the downtown location in 10 years, but my sister in law ate at the midtown location last weekend and said it was good as ever. I always get the tacos al carbon, but who knows if they're still on the menu.
There's another brewpub with food on Second Avenue, was called Market Street until about a month ago, and I can't recall the new name. Haven't been yet.
The Hard Rock Cafe is nothing special, foodwise, but the memorabilia is great fun if you're a rock fan.
There's a Melting Pot on Second, if you want a icebreaker/group activity/fun evening. About $25 per person, for budgeting purposes.
To avoid the tourist thing, you could drive to Germantown, an adorable neighborhood just a mile north of you past the Bicentennial Mall where there are three terrific restaurants and a great urban living experience. Germantown Cafe, Mad Platter and Monell's are all good (look them up on these boards). Fewer tourists, lots of locals, nice old buildings. I'd go to any of them alone.
There is a true 'hound spot about a mile and a half out Broadway just past the split of Broad and Division. The actual street is called West End. Golden Coast has a weekend dim sum buffet that is just fantastic. They bring in a Cantonese dim sum chef who prepares stuff like cold spiced chicken, steam buns, pearl dumpling shrimp, sui mai, spicy tripe, salty spareribs, cold seaweed salad, congee, tofu skin, spicy squid. There's also a spread of more recognizable Ameri-Chinese like spicy beef, cashew chicken, egg drop soup, crispy pork, dry fried beef and green beans. I'm usually one of the only Anglos there. $9. Sat and Sun 10-2, as I recall. During the week the food is just average.
Have a great trip.
Thanks Fluffernutter -- I meant to say Koto for the sushi place but work on West End so guess I was looking at the Tenno sign!
I definitely wasn't suggesting walking to the Gulch but it's an easy ride. I second Germantown and Germantown Cafe specificially and have added the link to their website. http://www.germantowncafe.com/ Bummer about Judge Beans -- he has great food but can't seem to get his organizational act together. Thanks for the heads up.
I just remembered there is also now a Broadway Brewhouse downtown on Broadway that is within walking distance; it's a local based place and very UNcorporate which I enjoy. Lots of tex-mex type bar food and very casual atmosphere. Probably better with a group. I've included their link as well.http://www.broadwaybrewhouse.net/home...
Thanks so much for the recommendations! I ended up only having one night to escape from mediocre convention food, and ended up at Germantown Cafe. It was wonderful, definitely not touristy, but what a great view of the skyline! (And when you're dining alone, it's nice to have something to look at!) Had a sumptuous smoked butternut squash bisque and the crab cake entree, slightly spicy with no bread crumbs apparent, and served with tender-crisp garlicky haricot verts and half a platter of some of the best steak fries I've ever had. Loved the wine list, too.