The Wild Hare

August 4, 2011

The Wild Hare
316 White Bridge Road
Nashville, TN 37209

The restaurant is a homey space with built-in wooden booths on the periphery and a long communal table in the middle.  The design and the conceptualization of the restaurant is meant to cater to families.  The menu offers classic American dishes at a good price point.  There are appetizers and salads to start; main course options include pizzas, sandwiches, or entrees.  Burgers are offered at half portions, for $5.5 (regular portions: $9)–a good option for kids or not-so-hungry adults.  Basic food, basic pricing makes for good family dinner pit stops, but some of the dishes were a bit too basic.

We ordered three starters, all ample in size to share: The tempura vegetables had a nice texture on the outside and the veggie insides had the right temperature and consistency–but the accompanying jalapeno gouda and onion dip seemed to undercut the dish’s lightness.  The tomato stack ($6) had mozzarella and basil with balsamic dressing. It was light an refreshing.  The fried calamari ($8) was served with a peppercorn aioli.  I appreciated the inclusion of  squid tentacles, but the dish’s taste overall was nondescript.

Our entrees, all ordered to be shared, did not get off to a good start.  After a thirty minute wait–with no explanation for the delay, the Wild Hare pizza ($8) came out.  It was undercooked, so the slices sagged in our hands as we picked them up, and the pie’s caramelized onions, bacon, and ricotta cheese just didn’t seem to come together. Our dining companions, Nick and Nora, had been before and they concluded that it was best to stay away from the pizzas.  The fried catfish ($9) had a nice, cornmeal-textured coating that contrasted nicely with the delicate fish, savory and peppery throughout.  The roasted whole chicken ($13) came halved, and was delicate enough to easily take off the bone. Some at the table liked the flavoring and moistness, though I found it to be somewhat bland.

Wines are now available.  Management has remained true to its vision–keeping the prices low, while selecting great wines, such as the Alamos Malbec ($7).  They’ve even gone so far as to carry the canned Sophia Coppola bubbly Blanc de Blancs ($8) to stay consistent with their selection of canned beers.

We went arrived at the restaurant around 6:30 when it was just beginning to fill up. When we left the lines were out the door. Get there early for a table.

For another review, see Nashville Restaurants.



Korean Tacos near Vandy

November 19, 2010

Peter Chinn’s Korean Barbecue Taco
400 21st Avenue South

Peter Chinn’s Korean BBQ Tacos and Burger’s move to the Vandy area from Clarksville Pike has stirred up a buzz (see, for example, comments on Eric and Kate’s post), and deservedly so.  The business logic of the move captures the concept and history of the Korean taco:  you keep the shell, maintain the form, though change it dramatically by adding Korean BBQ meats.  The old Cheeseburger Charley’s locale has maintained its basic form–from the counters and tables to the service areas, (though there has been a new paint job).  The menu has still offers the good ol’ burger, fries, and onion rings (which are noticeably better, probably because they’ve changed the frying oil).  Peter Chinn has infused life into the joint by offering Korean short rib bbq and fish tacos ($2.5), chicken and spicy pork tacos ($2), and burritos with aforementioned fillings ($5).  To top it all off, the background music was a playful variety of funk and soul.

I wandered into the joint late in the afternoon, and ordered a short rib and chicken taco.  The folks at the counter told me that business has improved quite a bit:  before the tacos, they’d do something like 80 tickets a day, but that day, at 3 pm,  I was ticket #120.  Some folks were still ordering burgers and fries, and a few came in to inquire about the tacos.  As for my tacos: the tortillas had the right combination of warmth, crispness, and texture.  I could taste the distinct marinade. The pickled cucumbers enhanced the taste of the meats, and a hint of spice gave the tacos a nice kick.

The Vandy area is in desperate need of dining spots, particularly of the non-chain type, and this is a welcomed addition.

Side note:  If you’re worried about  Vandy crowds, particularly at lunch, visit this upcoming week, since students are off for Thanksgiving.

Peter Chinn's Korean BBQ Taco on Urbanspoon

V&V Seafood Market
4021 Nolensville Pike
Nashville, TN 37211-4515
(615) 832-6214

Monday-Saturday: 11-9
Sunday: 12-8

SE Asian entrepreneurs have been spreading Cajun love and food in various American cities…and now in Nashville:

V&V Seafood Market occupies the old Las Chivas location on Nolensville.  It’s run by a family from Atlanta, that saw an opportunity to bring Gulf seafood to Nashville.  Needless to say, their plans were derailed due to the oil spill, and they’ve had no choice but to shift the balance of their business to the food-service aspect.  (This is not to say that they’re not selling seafood.  They offer everything from whole tilapia and shrimp to red snapper and frog legs.)  The menu is a melange of Vietnamese cuisine and Cajun seafood.

They’ve brightened the place up and given it a paint job.  The place is austere and manages to convey that it’s serious, a propos of its name, about seafood–particularly of the Cajun boil variety.  Besides the crawfish, they boil up blue crab and white shrimp–as well as snow crab leg and mussels.  All of the cajun boils are sold by the pound.  We had some of the crawfish, and it was tastefully prepared, with some of the spices coating the firetruck-red shells.  The crawdads were a good size, and the spices weren’t overpowering–subtly layered with different tastes of cayenne, pepper, onion, and garlic.  (The corn and potatoes that often goes in crawfish boils were not offered to us.)

We also had fried shrimp and tilapia po-boys.  Pickled thought the shrimp sandwich had a good balance between fried-goodness, fresh lettuce and tomoto, and sauces, while I found my tilapia sandwich a bit cumbersome.  The zigzagging lines of mayo and sauce were off-putting to me.  Nashville’s lack of bread varieties and quality has been a challenge for V&V.  After trying a number breads around town, they settled on baguettes from, believe it or not, Sam’s Club–which they claim to have the best texture.  We thought that V&V worked well with the bread–toasting and serving it at the right temperature.  But it proved a bit thick for our taste.

I had the Vietnamese iced milk coffee.  They did not use condensed milk, and the drink came out diluted and distastefully sweet.  This led to distrust in their pho, egg noodle soups, and home-made wonton soup.  We’ll be back for the seafood, and to give the soups a try.

Mas Tacos

May 13, 2010

I was working  hard at Portland Brew this morning. Hungry for lunch, I headed back home for a sandwich when I eyed the Mas Tacos truck in front of imogene and willie on 12th South. I’d eaten from the truck once before when they first started out and were working out the kinks in the operation. They serve up tacos out of a blue and yellow retro RV. The line moves very slowly, sometimes too slowly. However, this time the wait was worth it.

I had one cast-iron chicken taco and one fried avocado taco ($3 each). The chicken  taco was filled with generous amounts of shredded chicken, tomatillo salsa, sour creams, cilantro, and lime. I was so hungry I couldn’t wait to take a photo. The taco was tangy and delightful. The fried avocado taco made me wistful for my favorite East Nashville bar, The Alley Cat, which used to serve a deep fried whole avocado that was spectacular. The Mas Taco fried avocado slivers were ok, but there was nothing particularly special about them. I might have preferred the avocado fresh. I couldn’t taste the spicy dill but the cabbage slaw was crisp and tart. The watermelon aqua fresca ($2) was light and refreshing with a dash of lime. I almost ordered a second. All in all it was a perfectly delightful to happen upon. Dining on 12th south keeps getting better. Also over the summer on Thursday evenings  the good folks at imogene and willie will be showing movies in their backyard accompanied by Mas Tacos.

For a low down on traditional taco trucks in Nasvhille read about them here.

Earlier this week, I was in need of a late lunch and headed to B&C bbq, Melrose locale.  (We’ve anticipated its opening here.)

2617 Franklin Pike
(8th Ave. Kroger shopping center)
Nashville, TN 37204

B&C is on the southern corner of 8th Ave’s Kroger strip mall.  The interior proper has a service counter, no tables, and a long bar for those willing to stand and eat (love that detail).  There is an outdoor seating area that is covered and heated.  But it seems like the operation is set up for fast to-go/pick-up service.

The menu at this location is simlar to their farmers’ market offerings.  With the price point, I figured this would be the first of many spur-of-the-moment visits.  The business is still getting into full swing (appetizers and beer not available yet).  I ordered the jumbo pulled pork sandwich ($4.5).  The pork had nice texture and moisture.  The bun was warm, though too floppy to hold together all the pork  in between.  I added B&C’s mild and hot bbq sauce to the sandwich.  Good bbq sandwich, though nothing to spark oohs and ahhs.  My side of choice was the mac-and-cheese ($1.25).  The pasta was periwinkle-sized shells with rich cheese.  They got this classic dish right and spiced it up with a nice amount of pepper.

I’m willing to continue visiting B&C, particularly to try its daily specials:  smoked salmon, the ribs, smoked chicken.  Not to mention the other sides.  I liked it enough to convince my Super Bowl party host to cater Sunday’s hyper-event with B&C goodies.  Uber-good deals for catering:  for example, pulled pork is $7.5/lb and pulled chicken is $8.5/lb.

Update review on the B&C bbq catered for the Super Bowl (posted on 2/12):

For the Saints’ victorious Super Bowl, the host of our party ordered pulled chicken (8.5/lb) , pulled pork (7.5/lb), and beef brisket (10.5/lb)–a pound each, along with some sides.  An hour or so before the game, the food was ordered, while some provisions were picked up from Kroger.  All of the food were neatly packaged in circular plastic containers.  The three ordered meats were enough for eight people, all of whom had at least two sandwiches, and some had three servings.  The overall consensus was a thumbs up for the food.  Everyone noted the easiness and affordability of catering from B&C.  There was particular enthusiasm for the hot bbq–as opposed to the milder version and the honey mustard sauce, which was still in the experimental phase.

For me, the meats had different varying degrees of dryness.  I preferred the pulled pork the most.  With the hot sauce the sandwich was good, but not great. The brisket was tender, but could have used more time in the pit to develop the smokiness and crust. My favorite side dish was the baked beans.  They had a great, peculiar taste to them, perhaps a hint of Sriracha hot sauce (but don’t quote me on that).  I recall some pizza-flavored grits, but that just sounded like Cool Ranch Doritos further chemically morphed into grit form.  The others grits were garlic-cheese grits, which were rich and

well-balanced. Every day B&C offers different grits, which seem to have a drier, more polenta-like consistency than breakfast grits. My other primary side was cerveza, but we shouldn’t hold B&C accountable for that.

After keeping tabs on people’s B&C experience, my guess is:  folks will cater or dine with B&C if they’re in the Melrose neighborhood or if they’re looking for a super affordable option.  The food didn’t generate enough excitement for it to be a bbq destination.  It’s a good neighborhood option that seems to be quite consistent in what it offers.

B&C will always be special to me: its bbq is my madeleine for a Who-Date victory!

B & C Melrose BBQ on Urbanspoon

Cheap-Eats Suggestions

December 5, 2009

Friends of a friend of a friend…asked for some good, cheap eats.  The primary prerequisite:  no chain restaurants.

Here’s a start with Korean, Indian, Vietnamese, East Nashville, and the best, expensive food at half price. B & T & anyone else, if you want more suggestions, let me know via comment or email.

Korea House: our kitchen away from home. Good food, good prices. We like their rice dishes (particularly squid or shrimp) and bibimbap better than their soups. The standard dishes of pickled goods brought out before the entrees are the best in Nashville. They’ve raised their prices in 2010, and entrees start at $9.  Cozy atmosphere. The staff will remember you.  On Charlotte Pike in last shopping center on right, before you hit Nashville West.  So real, it doesn’t have a virtual home on the web.  But info for Korea House is available here.  (615) 352-2790.

-For Korean soups, there’s the Tofu House, aka “So Gong Dong Restaurant.”  A wee bit out there on Antioch Pike.  But their tofu soups (with different add-in options, like seafood, beef, etc.) and entrees are amazing.  Fresh tofu, incredible presentation, meticulously cooked rice, gi-normous portions.  We like to save this for a special occasion or a gathering with a large group of people.  Pricier than Korea House. (615) 781-2022.

Indian–vegetarian.  The best and most consistent in town is Woodlands on West End (when heading west, the last building on the left before 440).  Try the different dosas.  With Xmas around the corner and no real Chinese restaurant in town, this is always one of the more happening joints on Xmas day. (615) 463-3005.

Miss Saigon.  Good Vietnamese food.  Beats out its competitors–from their pho to their rice dishes–on Charlotte and the newest Vietnamese attempt, Far East in East Nashville.  To call Miss Saigon, (615) 354-1351.

Marche in East Nashville. The best breakfast, lunch, and brunch, including Saturdays, in town. (Why are there so few Saturday brunch options?) Can’t beat the price ($8-$11, brunch entrees) for the quality of food and the seasonal menus–from sweet breakfast treats and omelets to tasty salads and open-faced sandwiches. They also serve dinner, but at night the atmosphere does not compare to its sister (more expensive) restaurant, Margot’s. There are lines for brunch and occasionally at lunch during peak hours. (615) 262-1111.

-If you’re hungry for dinner after 9, the best deal in town in is F. Scott’s. Six days a week, they offer 50% off the food menu. Entrees go from $18.5-$35 to $9.25-$17.50. The restaurant does close at 10 p.m. Monday – Friday, but will take the last reservation for 10 p.m.. They open ’til 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and are closed on Sunday. The half-price doesn’t apply to their menu in the jazz bar. Their menu changes seasonally, but consistently has some of Nashville’s best seafood, vegetarian, and meat dishes that incorporate local products and fresh ingredients. The half-price makes up for the mall location and makes their great wine list more affordable. 615-269-5861.

-For Mexican, Lopez Taqueria and Mariscos on Nolensville is our favorite.  (Just south of the zoo, but north of Harding.)  A gas station outfitted into a restaurant, with a constant buzz around the clock.  They offer everything from sopas to ceviche, but try the grilled/smoked chicken al carbon–best tasting, best chicken deal in town–and the tacos al pastor.  Lopez does not have a liquor license and so no cerveza.  3901 Nolensville Road.  (615) 833-6434.