OK, I will be honest. I booked a brunch at the italian restaurant Sardinia Enoteca with my beautiful and very patient wife because it was a 1000 point reservation on OpenTable. I think we have already established that I can be bought.
Sardinia is an island just off the coast of Southern Italy, so I had a pretty good idea that it would be an Italian restaurant with an emphasis on seafood. It is located just off Centennial park and directly next door to the venerable Kobe Steaks, which has been a Nashville institution as long as I have lived here.
We arrived on a sleepy, sultry summer Sunday afternoon right at one o’clock with no agenda and very little idea what Sardinia would be like.
The restaurant is lovely with an elegant bar as you enter that is well stocked with primarily Italian wines. Wood, stone and brick are the primary elements with a touch of marble here and there for some accent. The kitchen is open to the dining room and the brick pizza oven looked very authentic.
The restaurant was very slow and the wait staff doted on us while we were there. The attention was good but balanced enough that we didn’t feel like they were rushing us along.
They brought a big basket of thin home-made crackers and crusty Italian bread. While this was served with the traditional olive oil poured at the table there was also a dish of what I originally assumed was butter. It was not, but was rather a creamy pecorino cheese spread. It was sharp and smooth at the same time and it was a delightful discovery.
The brunch menu looked lovely, with omelets and frittatas but I quickly got distracted by the lunch menu which featured a three course option for $20. An appetizer, entree and dessert are included as a prix fixe with a couple of options in each category. My wife, being more focused and far less ADD maintained her attention on brunch.
I started with mussels in a white wine sauce served with a warm salad of corn, tomatoes and garlic.
The portion was very generous and it tasted like Italian sunshine. The mussels were sweet and savory at the same time and the light freshness of the corn and tomatoes made a lovely balance to the mild acidity of the white wine sauce it swam in. I need a little extra bread to not waste that sauce.
Our entrees arrived and were delivered by two waiters in perfect timing. My wife had opted for the eggs benedict.
Perfectly poached eggs sat over Italian ham and spinach with a parmesan cream sauce rather than the traditional Hollandaise. An Italian twist on the classic. The benedict was served alongside what they referred to as Sardinian roasted potatoes. Think rustic hash browns with lots of rosemary and you will have a good grasp of the flavor.
I had opted for the tuna, to continue my Mediterranean themed meal.
The tuna was a very nicely cooked medium rare and seasoned exactly as I like. It was served on a bed of arugula and lightly roasted grape tomatoes. The whole was drizzled with an aged balsamic to finish the dish. It was lovely. Light and savory with a sweetness from the tomatoes and a bitterness from the greens that all went together like a day in the Tuscan hillside. I managed to avoid licking the plate…barely.
After that, I still had to pick a dessert. These are chosen daily by the chef so our waiter went over them verbally and we settled on the strawberry tira misu because it just sounded so interesting.
The berries were ripe and perfect, but the dish had more in common with a custard than a tira misu. The chef had substituted shortbread for the lady fingers in an inspired nod to the summer strawberry classic, but it had turned into mush in the dish. Still very tasty, but it could have used some textural contrast.
The whole experience was wonderful and I am very curious to go back and try their tasting menu. A seven course menu is paired with matched wines for $70. Sounds like a date night to me!
The manager met us at the door with the keys to the car we had valeted. He had already brought it around and had it ready for us at street.
Sardinina was a lovely experience. Warm as Italian sunshine with great service and fresh, flavorful food. The three course specials make it a very high value for the money.
I can’t wait to try it for dinner. This time I will try a classic dessert and see how they do!