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.

A few months ago, we blogged [here] about SE Asian restaurateurs spreading their interpretation of Cajun seafood to the rest of the country.  Well, Nashville now has such a place:

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

It’s an actual seafood mart that also dishes up boiled crawfish and blue crabs, as well as traditional beef pho and, of course, seafood pho.  [Go here for a photo of their combined offerings, plated and tabled.]  They just opened last Monday–not exactly the best timing due to BP’s underwater geyser, butV&V are working things out and sourcing their products from elsewhere.

We’ll definitely be writing more about this place.

Lunch in Philly

December 27, 2009

When my brother lived in Princeton, he would often go to Philly on the weekends to eat at a Vietnamese restaurant called

Nam Phuong
1100 Washington Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19147-3802
215.468.0410

That was our destination today for lunch.  The restaurant was abuzz, nearly full between 1 and 2 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon.   I got the iced, milk coffee–served old-school drip-coffee style at the table.  For an appetizer, we ordered a papaya salad with shrimp.   We then had the “Three Delight” dish (pictured above) for two.  The plate comes with a bundle of fresh herbs, leaves of lettuce, splinters of cucumber, squares of tapioca-ed vermicelli [bánh hỏi], marinated and minced meat wrapped and then grilled in grape leaves, shrimp balls speared by whittled sugar cane  and cooked, and grilled meat balls.  All that food is to be wrapped into nice rolls with the stack of rice paper provided.  The dish’s total price for two people was $22.95, $11.50 each.  The combination of marinated meats/seafood and fresh vegetables and herbs, supplemented by rice, rice noodles, or rice paper is Vietnamese food at its best.  Nam Phuong’s food is bold and simply good, but there’s nothing pretentious about it–much like Philly.

Nam Phuong 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.