When I think of Tennessee-style cooking I immediately think Memphis bbq. But I do a dinner and a movie get-together with friends and I am planning to show the movie "Nashville" soon. I think it's appropriate enough in an election year! Anyway, seemed a good time to pull out Nashville food stops but even my google searches are leaving me clueless. Seems like there might be a particular Nashville fried chicken? I wanted to stay away from fried chicken if I could.
I must say that I love Prince's Hot Chicken, but here's another idea for your meal. There are many popular restaurants in Nashville that serve traditional 'Meat 'N 3' dinners, which means your choice of meat (meatloaf, fried chicken, catfish, etc) with a choice of sides (greens, mac and cheese, sweet potato casserole, frled green tomatoes, okra, green beans etc.) and served with cornbread, rolls or biscuits. Here's a link to some of the best meat n 3 restaurants in Nashville: http://www.10best.com/destinations/te...
I looked at the list and sighed longingly for Arnold's, Monell's, Swett's, Rotier's, and the Elliston Place Soda Shop. I loved the Hermitage Cafe, but to me that was always more of a place for burgers or for breakfast. I have never had much luck with their meat & three lunches. I was less crazy about Wendell Smith's and Sylvan Park, though God knows each place has many passionate fans. The Loveless Cafe is an overpriced tourist trap, in my humble.
I suppose one could set up a meat & three lunch. Have three proteins, let everyone pick their protien, and let them pick three sides, finally they can choose a biscuit, roll, or cornbread.
Or, you could go Monell's style, and serve everything family style. Most people leave Monell's nearly sick from overeating, but very, very happy.
I was just thinking, you could also post this on the Kentucky/Tennessee board. General Southern food would be pretty accurate...Remember that Nashville isn't that far south, so a lot of the food kind of straddles the line between Southern and Midwestern. At the meat & three's (Southern food specialty restaurants), my favorite entrees were usually meatloaf, stuffed peppers, fried catfish, neckbones (if you were somewhere REALLY hardcore!), oxtail and baked chicken. My favorite sides were turnip greens (you almost never see collards in Nashville), cucumber & onion salad, corn pudding, stewed tomatoes with okra and rice casseroles.
Well, I get not wanting to make tons of it, but it's pretty representational of the movie you're showing.......and you know how much people love it. I did a Southern dinner not long ago, and the menu I used was
Southern Fried chicken (yep, made with lard that had bacon drippings in it...) Cream gravy
Fresh peas w/ onions
Cuke/radish salad, sliced tomatoes
Yeast rolls, honey butter, pimiento cheese
Lemon Meringue pie and Caramel cake
The chicken, I half-skillet fried and then finished in the oven. I had some cornmeal in the breading, and it stayed beautifully crispy.
What about half bbq, and half chicken? A choice? If not too casual, what about pulled pork sandwiches w/ slaw, and halved breasts and thighs?
I'm thinking there's not a definitive Nashville fried chicken - but I bet if you get five Nashville cooks, you'll get five differing Nashville recipes.
Ann Patchett did a marvelous article in the January '08 Gourmet, and I'm dang sure it's searchable. The whole issue might be of great help to you, and you'll notice it's where I basically cribbed my menu from, with a few changes. But that issue has GREAT recipes and ideas. Very thematic but not contrived.
Enjoy your shindig.
When it comes to desserts in the meat & three's in Nashville, I'd say that caramel cake, carrot cake and red velvet cake are the most popular cakes. For pies, think chess, chocolate fudge and pecan or chocolate pecan. You won't find lots of fruit pies, but you will often find fruit cobblers. Peach is the classic, of course. Blueberry is also popular, but my favorite cobbler was sour cherry.
I lived in Nashville for over 6 years. The only thing that might qualify as a Nashville specialty is something called "hot chicken". Hot chicken is fried chicken (my favorite places fried their chicken in a skillet) with an obnoxiously hot paste spread over the top of the crispy fried skin.
As much as I love spicy food, I usually didn't care much for hot chicken. The thick paste of capsaicin is just too much to be able to appreciate the flavor of the really delicious chicken. If you look at the video I'm posting a link to, it is set at Prince's Hot Chicken. I really don't like Prince's, but they are considered the standard. At Prince's, I always order mild, and it's still almost too hot to me eaten. My favorite hot chicken place in Nashville is Bolton's. I usually get their hot.
If you decide to try hot chicken, my favorite sides with it are potato salad and a sweet & sour buttermilk cucumber salad. French fries and cole slaw can also work. Serve it with plenty of sliced pickles. Most places serve it with sliced white bread if you want to be traditional.
Nashville really is hardcore about hot chicken. How hardcore?
Stranded - this Yankee has only been in Nashville once, and that was in '93, for a weekend. We went to a no-frills BBQ place called Jack's, on the recommendation of a local. I dream of the burnt ends to this day! I take it that Jack's was/is(?) highly regarded, but I don't think the style of BBQ is different than that of many places in the Boston area - Jack's just did it way better. The smothered greens were outstanding as well. Do you know anything about Jack's?
Jack's has two locations in Nashville. Their location on Trinity Lane would be the no frills one (their Broadway location caters to the tourist crowds). I am not nuts about the shoulder at Jack's (too soft and wet for my taste, I prefer it with a bit of chew), but their ribs are truly marvelous. As is their smoked turkey.