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Sep 12, 2008 04:18 AM

Knoxville, TN - Fine dining

We are visiting the area for Thanksgiving. I have my selections for Asheville, NC while in town. Now we need some suggestions for the Knoxville area. We are looking for quality, upscale, trendy, unique, local flavors. We live in Philadelphia.

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  1. The Regas has a long standing reputation as one of Knoxvilles finest.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Spreadhead

      thank you. I checked their website!

      1. re: Spreadhead

        Regas or the orangery....also what was that place that used to be in top of on of the skyscrapers downtown?

          1. re: crewsweeper

            Puleo's is good, but I don't know that I would classify it as "upscale". Also, not upscale, but unique and local is Litton's on Essary Rd. in the Fountain City area of Knoxville. Delicious burgers on homemade buns and fabulous desserts. They also have daily blue plate specials that are good, as well.

          2. The Apple Barn, Sevierville, about 25 miles from Knoxville, for breakfast. The New York Times, cupla years ago, said it was one of two places in the U.S. worth a long trip for breakfast (the other place was west of the Mississippi somewhere). Country ham, eggs, apple fritters, biscuits, gravy, fried apple pies, sausage, bacon, flapjacks, cider, etc. The setting is a pleasant but bustling modern-day re-creation of an old farmhouse.

            1. This possibility meets none of your criteria, but if you even remotely like authentic Chinese food, Knoxville currently hosts perhaps the best Chinese chef in the US (this is serious--I'm not kidding), Peter Chang, at a place called Hong Kong House. Search Tasty China on this board, or Peter Chang on the DC Board, for more info (Tasty China is a place in Atlanta where he cooked previously).

              11 Replies
              1. re: johnb

                OMG! johnb! Really? How did you find him? Does he own the place? Or is it possible he'll disappear again?? We're in DC, but my BF just said we could go for the weekend, just to have his cooking again!

                1. re: FoodieGrrl

                  He supposedly (he told me himself) has a 5 year contract so will be there for four more years. I think it's pretty safe to go, but not sure I'd go all the way to Knoxville just for a meal there (well, maybe.....). Combine it with a trip to the Smoky Mountain National Park--leaves will be very beautiful for the next few weeks. He is supposedly off on Tuesday, but is there all other days.

                  There are also some posts on the Rockwell board, by me and others, with info.

                  1. re: johnb

                    Thanks, johnb! My BF (who three short years ago thought that the pinnacle of Chinese food was egg rolls with hot mustard sauce) is pretty insistent we try to make the trip, and I can't say I disagree! I guess it helps a little that he's from the South, and tells me that the drive to Knoxville isn't bad. Plus, he's been periodically cyber-stalking Chef Chang since he left the area - that's how we came across your post.

                    Saw your posts on Rockwell. Thanks so much for the intel!

                    1. re: FoodieGrrl

                      I have eaten at HKH 4 times over the past 3 months as I have the fortunate luck to get to Knoxville about once a month. There is a thread on the Atlanta cuisine boards that will provide a great deal of info on the restaraunt.


                      I can not speak highly enough of the food at HKH, especially the Dry Fried Eggplant or the Hot and Numbing Beef Roll. Both are truly exeptional.

                      Enjoy when you get there.

                      1. re: samlev

                        Oh, samlev! If you knew how heartbroken we were when Chef Chang disappeared from DC! I still dream of his food. Does he have the Chen Cang beef with those wonderful steamed rolls at HKH?

                        1. re: FoodieGrrl

                          I'll jump in and reply ahead of samlev. I haven't had the dish there, but I'm nearly certain the answer is yes, and I think it's even on the menu this time---I believe it's also among the pictures of the featured dishes posted on the wall when you walk in.

                          On the subject of, if you check out the recent entries in the Tasty China thread you will note there is now a new chef installed there from China, who seems to be doing very well. You might want to swing down to Atlanta and try him out as well.

                          Let me know (e-mail in my profile)--maybe I can join you at one or both, and sam too!

                          1. re: johnb

                            I have just emailed you. Hopefully we will see you tomorrow night for some grubbing at the HKH!

                            Also, where is a good place to take 2 partners from my firm to lunch before a business meeting? We will be in suits and these guys know I know food, so I need something very good.

                            1. re: johnb

                              Well, turns out, we will be passing through Knoxville tomorrow unexpectedly for some sad business in Sparta. We're trying to make the best of it by stopping by HKH. I want to make sure I'm going to the right place. Is it at 8079 Kingston Pike?

                  2. re: johnb

                    Hong Kong House is a buffet restaurant in a strip mall. I wouldn't consider it to be fine dining.

                    1. re: Brawny

                      There is a lunch buffet, but that is it. I would not classify it as a buffet restaurant based upon that one aspect. As far as fine dining, no it is not but it has perhaps one of the best Chinese chefs in the country in residence especially when he is cooking in the Sichaun style. He would be considered trendy, quality and unique based on the many people who follow him around the country.

                      Finally, if you haven't eaten there yet, I highly recommend it. Order the Dry Fried Eggplant for perhaps the best dish on the menu. Stay away from the American Chinese section too.


                  3. Quality, upscale, trendy, unique, local- you are asking a lot for lil ol' Ktown. But here are my suggestions- By the Track Bistro (which is not longer by the tracks) is on Kingston Pike in the Homberg area. Locally owned, good wines, nice atmosphere. They have interesting wine dinners from time to time. Might want to make reservations. The same owner owners the SunSpot on Cumberland near UT which has a fun bar and some vegetarian items on the menu. The most elegant is The Orangery which is the most distinctive place in Knoxville, Very European look. Club LeConte is downtown at the top of a bank building but you have to be a member to eat there. Ruth's Chris is also downtown on the waterfront but hardly "local". I think that Regas is overrated. Puleo's at all 3 lcoations is delicious but hardly upscale. Downtown restaurants include the Tomato Head, Nama, Pasta Trio, and a couple of places in the Old City area. All are casual but tasty. For a taste of real Southern cooking, if you can schedule it go to lunch at Wright's Cafeteria on Middlebrook Pike, near the Western Ave. exit of I640. Not open for dinner or weekends but very authentic and fantastic pies.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: LGD

                      Club LeConte...that was the place to I was trying to was delish!

                      1. re: LaLa

                        Club LeConte is a very good place to dine...but it is a private club run by ClubCorp. You would need a member to get you seated.