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Jan 7, 2008 07:02 AM

Nashville rec needed for southern upscale (a little)

Any suggestions for two guys (Wed. dinner) looking for southern, but a bit more upscale than a Rotier's or meat and threes? Cool neighborhood a plus, price not really an issue.

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  1. Monell's is, I believe, a bit more upscale than Rotier's or your typical meat-and-three, but it's still pretty casual. And it's definitely southern. And it is in a cool neighborhood.

    Unfortunately, if you get much more upscale, you lose the "southern" part.

    Monell's Dining & Catering
    1235 6th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37208

    9 Replies
    1. re: jamiecarroll

      Another really good option would be South Street -- it's next to Boundry which is also great and is in the midtown area which is fun with quite a bit going on. There's lots of Southern food there with a fun atmosphere, full bar, etc. (think pulled pork BBQ, steak and biscuits, whole fried catfish, ribs but also great enchiladas, crab legs, raw oysters and some other great appetizers. don't forget the fried pickles!


      Cabana might hit the mark and is in Hillsboro Village which also fits the neighborhood bonus. Just don't go too late or it becomes a scene, although Wednesday nights are probably better than Fri/Sat. They have quite a few southern entrees prepared a little more upscale than the traditional stuff. I'm also a huge fan of Radius 10 which isn't really southern, except for the best shrimp/scallops/grits anywhere IMO.

      All of these places are in areas where you could hit another place or 2 for a drink before or after; both Cabana and South Street are really near Vanderbilt, Radius 10 is closer to downtown around the Gulch area.

        1. re: rcburli

          Germantown Cafe is excellent, one of our favorites. It didn't come to mind as southern, but sounds like it would fit what you are looking for. Park Cafe is also great....I think it might be a little better for dinner than Germantown, depending on what you want. Park definitely has some of the BEST mac-n-cheese with green chilis. They also do an excellent pork chop and beef tenderloin. They also usually have a fish special, along with some great pastas. It's in a remodeled old home with a cool bar. If what you see on their menu pics your appetite, I'd say do Park Cafe. It also has a nice, loca atmosphere.

        2. re: jamiecarroll

          You are right about upscale and southern but I've seen attempts elsewhere.
          Monell's looks ok for the family, but I guess I'm looking for something a bit more modern...I don't mean trendy exactly but modern. New style southern.
          It doesn't look "southern" per se, but what about Park Cafe?

          1. re: rcburli

            Park Cafe, Radius10, Germantown Cafe, Cabana...these are all great restaurants where you will have a fantastic meal, but they're not really what I would consider southern cuisine, or even contemporary southern cuisine. Yes, you might see a playful reinterpretation or two or traditional southern dishes, but that will just be one part of the spectrum, and not the focus.

            Sadly, Nashville does not have a restaurant whose focus is contemporary southern cuisine. Sean Brock used to do a lot of that down at the Capitol Grill, but I'm not sure about it now that he's gone.

            1. re: jamiecarroll

              If my "international" friend is really interested in southern, is Rotier's the way to go? That's what he asked for.

              1. re: rcburli

                I think of Rotier's as more of a burger and milkshake place, but perhaps their meat-and-three is good, too? I don't know.

                I really think, of the places that are open for dinner, either Monell's or the Loveless Cafe are the best traditional southern restaurants. Loveless is kind of a drive from downtown, though. Sylvan Park is also pretty good. And Swett's, too.

                1. re: jamiecarroll

                  The last time I ordered meat-n-three at Rotiers it was emphatically not good -- green beans straight out of the can, Stouffer's mac-n-cheese, etc. This was 2 winters ago, and at that time, they seemed to have dropped most of the plate meals to emphasize burgers and shakes and patty melts (which is definitely the best thing to order there). Perhaps other 'hounds can report whether Rotiers has revived its meat-n-three since then,

        3. Based on your responses, you might want to give Watermark a shot. Upscale but with a Southern twist. I've had very good meals there...

          1 Reply
          1. re: grundoon

            I just ate there last night and it was indeed excellent.

            App: foie gras over a sweet potato biscuit with candied pecans and sorghum
            Main course: braised pork cheeks with sweet potato gnocci
            Dessert: gelato sampler (Southern Comfort chocolate, coconut, pomegranate)

          2. rcburli,
            After looking at your past posts I think you may find Radius 10 to be a good choice. It is a modern place in a fun location with a distinctly southern influenced menu. Look for menu items that include grits. It is influenced by southern tradition but is not a southern menu.

            If your friend wishes to really experience southern in the most belt busting variation go to Monell's in Germantown. Technically it is a meat-n-three but it is really a soul food place. You are seated with other diners at a communal table and the feel is sort of like going to grandmothers for Sunday supper. It is a set fee and it includes beverages and dessert. We take out of towners there for the shear fun of their faces when they see how much food is served. Just remember to pass to the left.

            Rotier's is not what you are looking for. It is a great place to grab a burger after a 'Dores game but otherwise it is not great food. I only seem to like Rotiers after having beer.

            Other places to consider that I really like are Tayst (Hillsboro Village), Germantown Cafe (Germantown), Watermark (Gulch/downtown), Ombi (West End). All have some southern ideas behind the menu but keep things on a more current food concept edge.