Nov 26 2011

Germantown East- A Restaurant Report

Germantown Cafe is a stalwart name in Nashville’s dining circles. They have been serving sublime food without fuss for 8 years in the historic area just north of Bicentennial park.

They had a sister restaurant across the river called Allium that I reviewed here a couple of months ago. I actually had a reservation at Allium for a business dinner in July and I received an apologetic call from the manager. He let me know they were closing to change the restaurant concept to match Germantown.

Restaurant week in Nashville marked the opening of Germantown East. Like its namesake it features casual decor, a simple, high quality menu and a great view of the Nashville skyline.

My wife and I snuck in for a quiet Thursday night dinner with only the slightest bit of trepidation. One of my favorite appetizers of all time was from Allium and I was already mourning it’s loss.

When I looked at the menu a smile immediately crossed my face.

One page of simple, elegant food and there in the appetizer section my beloved gnocchi. Little pillowy dumplings in a cream sauce redolent with pear and bacon. Bliss! I have heard the mussels are fabulous but I seldom make it past the gnocchi.

The menu features the classic Germantown dishes. Plum pork and coconut curry salmon. I don’t think these ever fall off the menu but the rest rotate depending on the chef’s whim.

We started with the gnocchi, of course and it did not disappoint. Unlike many of the upscale establishments in town Germantown’s menu options are very reasonable and a salad is included in the price.

Only two of the options on the menu ( the scallops and the duck) were more than $20.

My wife opted for the coconut curry salmon and I decided on the special: a blackened snapper with salsa.

My wife had the house salad with an excellent house made mustard vinaigrette and Germantown allowed me to sub the soup du jour for my salad. It was a good, but unremarkable clam chowder.

Our entrees arrived quickly and piping hot. Both fish dishes were cooked perfectly and featured sautéed Swiss chard as one of the sides. I loathe greens that are cooked to death and apparently the chef agrees with me because the chard was toothsome and flavorful.

My snapper was strongly seasoned but the cool salsa of melon, tomatoes and onions cut the saltiness of the blackening perfectly. The fish lay on two crispy cakes of polenta that added a nice textural contrast to the rest of the meal.

I am always impressed that a chef can get such depth of flavor out of a sauce and the coconut curry sauce on the salmon was as deep as the ocean. Sweet and savory with a hundred little notes on your tongue it paired nicely with the stronger flavor of the salmon. The risotto and asparagus added a little bit more punch to the plate.

While we were offered sweets to finish our meal there was simply no place to put them! We settled for an excellent cup of coffee before heading on our way. The service is uniformly excellent but Katie took particularly good care of us that evening.

We have since returned to Germantown East to sample their brunch, and while I will not go into detail I can tell you that it was equally good.

Germantown East is highly recommended. The attention to detail is on par with the main location and while it is not as crowded as the main location yet, reservations are still recommended and can be booked on Opentable.

Germantown Cafe East
501 Main Street
Nashville, TN 37206

Germantown Cafe East on Urbanspoon

Germantown Cafe on Foodio54

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