QUICK BITES: Nashville

It’s a big week for Nashville as three high-profile restaurants open their doors to much anticipation from local foodies. From two steakhouses to a second offering from long-time local favorite chef Tandy Wilson, there’s a lot to be excited about.

The new Wilson restaurant is Mop/Broom Mess Hall, the replacement to the short-lived Kuchnia & Kellar which he was also an investor. Wilson has reimagined the space that previously focused on Eastern European fare as a homestyle family restaurant where he can prepare food like he likes to cook at home for his family. Officially opening on September 10, previews led to raves for Wilson’s take on barbecue chicken, hush puppy-breaded catfish and a vegan appetizer of chickpea fries served with cashew “cheese” sauce and meatless chili.

“People respond well to authenticity and honesty, and that’s where we’re coming from with this restaurant,” says Wilson. The bar program at Mop/Broom Mess Hall is also approachable with novel house made sodas including a red vinegar shrub that’s also a key ingredient in one of the cocktails on the menu. Demonstrating Wilson’s playful nature and love of veggies, all the drinks on the menus are named after varieties of tomatoes. So that’s where the name “Nebraska Wedding” comes from.

On the meaty front, the latest restaurant from the 4 Top Hospitality group is Char.This is the second outpost of Char after the original in Jackson, MS, and the group also operates Amerigo, Saltine, etc, and Etch. Char will open on September 17 in the new Vertis Green Hills development.

The restaurant will feature top quality cuts of meat, fresh seafood, home-style sides and an extensive cocktail, bourbon and wine selection available for lunch and dinner. (Well, it’s up to you whether you take advantage of the drinks offerings during the midday meal.) According to management, “the interior design takes on the classic steakhouse genre with a modern twist. Brass and marble finishes are combined with dark wood to create an intimate atmosphere reminiscent of an old school supper club.”

The menu is divided into “Surf” and “Char Cuts,” featuring dishes like chili-rubbed Cowboy Prime Ribeye and Pork Chop with garlic mashed potatoes, broccolini and cognac and green peppercorn cream sauce, and Seafood Carbonara with shrimp, jumbo lump crab and crawfish tails.

Downtown, Bourbon Steak Nashville, also opens on September 10, the latest link in acclaimed chef/restaurateur Michael Mina’s chain of luxury steakhouses. This location is the signature restaurant of the new JW Marriott property looming over the Music City Center from the 34th floor of the hotel.

The menu looks especially decadent with treats like a Hudson Valley Foie Gras “Donut” and a Smoking Hot Miso Buttered Shellfish Platters. Of course, there will be beef in all its incarnations. Highlights of the steak menu include a tableside Hickory Smoked 30-Day Dry-Aged Porterhouse and World-Wide Wagyu Trio of Japanese A5 Striploin, Australian Filet and American Rib Cap using organic beef.

Looks like it might be time to renew the old gym membership, Nashvillians!

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