Dinner on the Yellow Porch

January 30, 2010

I had dinner with a friend at Yellow Porch (734 Thompson Ln., Berry Hill area) the other night. We hadn’t seen each other in a while, and it seemed like the perfect place for a few glasses of wine and a good meal. When we arrived the restaurant was packed, and we were lucky to snag the last parking spot. Parking is a premium there, because if the lot is full you might end up braving the mall parking lot. We were sat in a quiet corner with a window overlooking the porch, which was closed for winter.

The server arrived to take our drink orders and bring a basket of fresh bread, accompanied by some vinaigrette  with some cheese  floating in it. Although the vinaigrette did not look appetizing, I ate too much of it while we lingered over the wine and pondered the menu.  V and I debated the trout. I settled on a baby green salad  for $3.95 and Pasta Bettola (Penne pasta in a vodka cream sauce with tomatos and garlic) for $12.95. I should have tried something more adventurous, but I was looking for some comfort food.  The salad was fresh and light with a tart balsamic vinaigrette. The penne pasta was too salty and garlicky. Despite my misgivings at dinner, I reheated it for the lunch next day and found it more to my liking. V’s dish was over the top with flavors. The fish rested atop stalks of broccolini that were perched on sweet potato gnocchi–all of which floated in a pork broth. In addition, next to the fish was a single fried cheddar and pork ravioli that looked a lot like a fried wanton. Yes, we knew all this from the menu and wondered if it could actually be tasty. The individual items were fresh and cooked properly. However, that pork broth was just too potent. There is nothing subtle about pork broth, and I can’t see any reason to pair it with gnocchi and fish. We were too full to order desert, but thrilled to learn they make it all in house. The over-the-top pork-of-some-form dish is undoubtedly a Nashville specialty. I can think of a number of restaurants including Park Cafe and Mambu, where these dishes can be found. Yellow Porch is not the best of the group. However, YP’s prices, ranging from $13-$26 with many in the $15-$17 range, are the best in town. All told, the Yellow Porch is a good place to go for fairly priced food and a few glasses of wine. The menu also has a nice selection of vegetarian options. Next time, however, I might just stick with the appetizers.

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