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Nov 5, 2011 08:22 AM

Philly Hound visiting Nashville for the weekend - need recs from local Hounds!

So this Philly Hound is happy to be back in lovely East Nashville visiting dear friends and new parents, and am looking for recs for dinner tonight (Saturday) sans baby. Criteria - any food is great except sushi (which, no offense intended, is NOT why I dine in Nashville anyway!!). Budget is in the under $35 entree range, and we will eat on the early side due to baby schedule. Just to give an idea of my faves, I already had my breakfast fix at Sweet 16th (yummmmm...), we're heading to Silly Goose for lunch, and will hit Marche before I leave. So any must try options elsewhere you recommend?

Puckett's looks good, and my friends like Rumors Wine Bar (but I have to admit two years ago I was unimpressed). So any suggestions for places that are worth venturing to tonight would be much appreciated! Thank you!

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  1. Stay on the East Side. For fine dining, you can try Margot Cafe, which is well-executed French cuisine. For ethnic food, there is Thai Phoo Ket, a very good Thai restaurant with an extensive and creative menu. (Just be aware that their spicing system is conservative: don't order less than a 3 -- out of 5 -- on any dish.) Unless ... have you ever eaten at Monell's? That's a wonderful place to try a lot of delicious Southern food for very little money.

    1. My favorite spot in East Nashville is Eastland Cafe. On a Saturday I'd make reservations. If you're looking to eat tonight, it may be too late, but worth a try.

      Just across the river is City House. Another fav of mine. Again, reservations.

      Another choice is Germantown Cafe or Germantown Cafe East. Did I mention reservations are a good idea ... ?

      Puckett's would be worth a visit but really different vibe and type of food. Southern home-cooking type of food, very casual atmosphere. Probably will have music on a Sat night.

      3 Replies
      1. re: TLF

        Thanks to you both - I now have some new options to add to the To-Do list!

        We ended up at Eastland Cafe, and were able to get a 6:45 reservation which was perfect. Decor was fun and the back patio, thought empty in the evening chill, looked like a perfect spot for warm weather cocktails. We were seated quickly, and the service was friendly if a bit frenetic. We shared two apps among the three of, the salad special, which had nice flavors, but some challenges in the construction in that you could not get all the crunchy and soft elements into one bite, and the goat cheese brulee, which will haunt my palate for quite some time. Delightfully smooth and just warmed through goat cheese, baked pita, and roasted peppers and tomatoes. I opined that the tomatoes and peppers were unnecessary IMHO, but I was voted down by my companions. Yumm...

        Entrees were the pork chop, which was juicy and smoky and perfectly seasoned. I had the duck breast with 5 spice powder, coconut rice, and sauteed veggies. The duck breast was perfectly cooked, and the very thin layer of fat that was left delicately balanced the crispiness of the duck skin. Delightful. The coconut rice was again, perfectly seasoned, and light with no gumminess. The veggies were well cooked, but terribly oversalted. The sweetness of the carrots and crispiness of the sauteed beans would have been a nice compliment to the earthy 5 spice and the sweet coconut rice, but struck an inharmonious note. However there was plenty of food on the plate and I still thoroughly enjoyed the dish. The third entree was the shrimp with vegetable crepe. Again, the shrimp was perfectly sauteed and presented at just the right temperature. Unfortunately the salt zealot struck again, and the veggies in the crepe were way too salty for the delicate taste of the shrimp. But the balance of the dish worked so well, so they were forgiven.

        Eastland is now added to the list of places in Nashville I can recommend to my friends and fellow Hounds when visiting Music City. Thanks for the recs!

        1. re: doxiemom

          So glad you liked Eastland Cafe. Truly one of my favorite "neighborhood bistro" restaurants in town. And, the happy hour bar food specials are a terrific bargain as well. Chef Hal is great. I took a class with him at the local Whole Foods last year and was really impressed with is care for the food, and his discussion of how the restaurant uses local farm produce, etc. Eastland doesn't get the constant buzz that some restaurants do, but it's definitely a gem and deserves more hype than it gets.

          1. re: doxiemom

            I'm glad you had a good time. There's no need to leave East Nashville to eat well.