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.



Bella Napoli

August 21, 2010

R and I decided to have lunch at Bella Napoli Pizzeria in  Edgehill village. The folks at Valentino’s on West End opened Bella Napoli this August, building on Nashville’s wave of Italian wood-fired pizza, following the likes of City House and Porta Via.  Bella Napoli is a great addition to the 12th south, Belmont, Vandy neighborhood, and to the Nashville pizza scene. The pizzeria has a large dining room and roomy outdoor seating area, with just-delivered patio furniture. I ordered the Margherita Pizza ($9). The crust was thin and crispy on the edges and the tomato sauce was tart and flavorful, not like the overly sweet sauce in American pizza. My only complaint was the sad piece of basil, wilted and brown on the corner of the pizza. I am looking forward to eating the left overs for breakfast. R had the San Gennaro panini with a healthy portion of prosciutto crudo, mozzarella, and marinated egg plant ($10). The flavors on the sandwich were great, and the eggplant was a real standout. R noted that bread was especially delicious. The side salad, mostly colorless pieces of lettuce, and the chips were a real miss. I think they should just serve the sandwich on its own. It is quite substantial.

While the place is great for lunch I think it needs to work on its atmosphere to attract dinner patrons. Also, while we were there “That’s Amore” was on repeat.

Bella Napoli 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.

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.

Bella Napoli Pizzeria is coming to Edgehill Village soon. (It’ll be in the same development that houses Taco Mamacita, but tucked in the back.) It promises to offer “authentic” Italian pizzas cooked in a wood-burning oven . There’s a paucity of good pizza and Italian food in town, so this is more than welcomed news. But we’ll have to wait and see if they’re catering to the nearby college masses or serving up good Italian pies and pasta.

2901 12th Ave. South
Nashville, TN

12th South’s newest burger joint is up and running.  Click here for a preview and background.

Burger Up and Green Light update:  Burger Up will have a soft, soft opening for family and friends this Friday evening and will be open to the public as of May 1st.  The chef is a South Carolinian, whose partner will be managing the Green Light organic market next door.  That’ll be opening soon as well.  Cat, the manager says there’ll be veggies, meats, cheeses, and prepared foods.  She promises me that I’ll never have to go to Whole Foods ever again.