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Jan 10, 2008 08:01 AM

Nashville's OMBI...what do you think?

After hearing good things about it for so long, I finally went to OMBI for the first time last night. I must say that it met and exceeded my high expectations.

First, a word about the physical environment. What an incredible space. It manages to be both modern chic and warmly accomodating. I love the cantilevered wood panels. And the lighting was just right - not too dark nor too bright.

I began with the soup special which was a puree of sweet potato. It was perfectly executed, rich and flavorful.

Although there were many other appealing options, I decided to go with the much ballyhooed foie gras stuffed hamburger with pomme frites for an entree. I usually tend to scoff at adorning a hamburger with such highfalutin ingredients, but I had just heard too many high praises not to give it a shot. Friends, it was every bit as indulgent, and every bit as delicious as I imagined it could be - one of the best hamburgers I have ever tasted. It was dressed with garlic aioli and caramelized onions, and each bite was a juicy flavorful moment of joy. The fries were stellar, too.

I was a bit underwhelmed looking over the dessert options, but the creme brulee I ended up with was outstanding - surely one of the best in the city. It was in a wider, shallower dish, so as to maximize the amount of crunchy caramel. Highly recommended.

So I would love to hear others' opinions about OMBI. I hope to return soon to sample more items. I never want to make over-arching proclaimations after only one visit, but I feel that OMBI could be one of Nashville's best overall restaurants. What do you think?

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  1. I too was very impressed. Went for the first time last Friday (1/4) with wife and two kids. Had a wonderful meal, great space & excellent service. My son (15) demolished his meal of French onion soup, foie gras burger, and cheese plate. My wife and daughter (who was celebrating her 12th birthday) split up a crab cakes appetizer and followed with the seared sea scallops and grilled pork porterhouse entrees. They loved the pork dish and were especially enamored of the butternut squash flan that accompanied it. I had a whole roasted sea bass entree and a prawn appetizer from the specials choices that evening. The sea bass was wonderful -- served head on and just lovely in terms of both flavor and texture. The prawns were also quite good. We generally agreed that the scallop dish was the weakest -- it had a nice sear and was appropriately underdone, but had a disagreeable metallic taste. My only other quibble is that they shake rather than stir their Rye Manhattans, which incorporates too much air into the cocktail and ruins the silky texture that I prefer. Oh, I agree on the creme brulee -- very good example. Overall, we had an extremely good experience and are looking forward to visiting again!

    1. I've been to Ombi about half a dozen times over the last 15 m nths, and everything I've had had been exceptional. Pork porterhouse was fantastic, the French onion soup was great, we've had several seasonal pastas, a lamb shank, scallops, fish, every small plate offered and two meatless entrees -- all good, and what's more significant, modestly priced. One night last summer I had a fish I didn't care for, but that was a matter of texture, not preparation. Ombi proves to me that it is possible to offer hand-crafted food in an appealing atmosphere without charging extortionate prices.

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