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Sep 1, 2008 10:14 PM

Quick weekend in Chattanooga

We just stayed one night, but got in a couple of good restaurants, and one terrible one. First, we went to the Blue Plate, near the aquarium. I think it was on Chestnut. We ate out on the patio and people watched. My husband had a simple salad to start, and said it was really good. I started with a special that day - fried green heirloom tomatoes with roasted corn and a coulis to finish. It was delicious! Then we had grilled rosemary chicken, turnip greens, cornbread and a vegetable plate (roasted green beans, carrots, cheese grits, and fruit salad.) Everything was very good except for the carrots, which they attempted to caramelize but instead burned.

For dinner, we had planned to go to the Meeting Place, but a hotel clerk dissuaded us from that because we had our 5 year old along. We went instead to Hennen's, a steak house right next to the Blue Plate and the Aquarium. It was wonderful advice! I had trout with brown butter sauce, and my husband had a "Desert Fired Shrimp and Pasta". We loved it. We were too full for dessert, though they had some wonderful choices on the menu.

The next day we went to a new pizza place near Coolidge Park called Pizzeria Venti. The first thing they told us when we went in was that they were out of pizza. Huh? A pizza place that's out of pizza? There was only one other group in there! They told us it would be 25 minutes (turned out to be 45). My 5 year old was too tired to walk any farther, so we ordered the pizza and some appetizers to have while we waited. We got the bocce balls and a tuna and white bean salad. I have to admit that the salad was really good. The bocce balls were okay. I also ordered sweet tea, which they were out of. And they couldn't make more because they were making the pizza. There were 4 guys just standing around! So I got lemonade instead. It wasn't lemonade, it was water - because they were out of lemonade. I asked for lemon slices and they took about 20 minutes for those guys to bring them out.

Meanwhile, my son had to use the restroom and they were out of toilet paper! Out of toilet paper!

Oh, and we had to move tables because there was an ant infestation underneath our first one.

Finally we got the pizza (sold by the slice) and it was pretty good. But for $3.75 per slice, I would have expected it to be bigger than a 4 inch by 8 inch crust-free piece.

Very strange - I would NOT recommend this place.

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  1. Nice to hear a good word about Hennen's. Next time you're there and want pizza go to Lupi's on Broad. You won't be disappointed. Blue Water Grill and Sticky Fingers are also places to try near the Aquarium. Also Taco Rico, which is Salvadorian.

    1. Mrs. Bear and I were quite excited when we first read about Pizzeria Venti, the photographs showed big thick rectangular chunks of pizza, just like in North Beach in San Francisco. Boy were we disappointed.

      Our visit was much like susan's, only it was the un-sweet tea they were out of. As you pay for your drink before you self-serve it I was out for the cost of it. Nobody offered me my money back, I was not even offered an apology. When our order was delivered to the table, after a very long wait, we wished they had been out of pizza also. It was undercooked and doughy, not very nice at all.

      We ended up going to another establishment to have an edible meal served by someone who seemed to care.

      I agree that Lupi's is the best bet for pizza in the Aquarium area, although Mellow Mushroom is not bad. For fine dining in the area my favorite is 212 Market. They are the first "green" restaurant in Tennessee and firm believers in the Slow Food movement. All possible menu items are locally sourced.

      Taco Rico is wonderful, but a bit of a drive and located in a neighborhood thet is in "transition".