20 February, 2006

Back On The Chain Gang, Baby

Brittney asks my opinion on the chain restaurants' propensity to shut down.

Given the fact that right now all thought of food is making me, er, rather disquieted, I'm not sure I'm the best defender the Restaurant Beast has today.

But of course I'll try.

I've lived here 15 years this June. The restaurants I LOVED that have quit me include The Texana Grill, Cafe Lylla, 32nd Avenue, Rio Bravo and Red Hot & Blue Barbecue. Two were chains, two were not, one (Texana) I'm not sure about. I never liked or disliked them based on their ownership and never got the feeling that an Idaho Home Office was the only thing keeping them alive.

I do like some chain restaurants. I abhor others. I love many locally owned places, but think that others can take a flying leap into The Gulch. What are my current favourites in the Nashville environs?

1. The Mad Platter (L)
Great atmosphere, best food you can get. Haven't been there in a while because I'm not in the mood to take out a second mortgage.

2. Ellendale's (L)
Like the MP, it's got great food. Unlike the MP I can get out of there for less than a c-note. Plus, it's twenty minutes closer to my house. I love that place, and it's the best brunch in town.

3. Maggiano's (C)
This place is the GRUB. I've written about it at length. If I weren't sick as a dog right now I'd be begging for a takeaway box of their asparagus, which is drowned in butter and garlic. I could live on that stuff.

4. Demo's (?)
I mean, they're locally owned but there are about 5 of them now. Does that make them a chain? Doesn't matter. The food is delicious and two people can eat a full meal for $25.00. I also love that they don't have you pay at the table. Turns the tables faster and lets you seperate the relaxing dining from the drone of commerce. Best steak in town for under $15.00

5. Monell's (?)
Again, locally owned but monolithic. Still it's the best "meat-and-three" for 500 miles. And I'm including the (much overrated) Loveless Cafe in that.

6. Bistro 215 (?)
Have no idea who owns them. I do know their portabello sandwich is sublime. And they offer an artisan cheese plate. Sell me bunches of cheese and I'm yours.

7. Carabba's (C)
It's good Italian food with a bit of modernisation to make it more "American" while still tasting fabbooo.

8. McDonalds (C)
I'm so kidding right now. I can't even drive by that place without getting a major case of the trots. Sorry to be so graphic, but what happens to your digestive system once you hit 30? I seriously cannot eat here any more. At all. Okay, occasional PMS cravings will drive my to do something stupid, but as a general rule this isn't food, it's a custom.

9. Sitar (L) for Lunch, Taste of India (L) for Dinner
Both of these are uber-locally owned, as far as I can tell. They're the original curry-house dives (although Sitar has dressed herself up a bit lately.) The food is superb at both. Sitar's lunch buffett is better quality, which is offset by HIGH dinner prices. So we save $10 by doing ToI for dinner. Still good food.

10. Anatolia (L)
Locally-owned as far as I can tell, and the best Turkish food you can get. Which is good, since House of Kebab betrayed me so greviously by selling to someone who undercut the quality.

11. Longhorn (C)
They're everywhere. They have call-ahead seating. They have good steak. They have fried cheesecake. It's good food in a relaxed atmosphere. It's also the last meal I had before getting stomach flu so I won't most likely be able to eat there for several months. Still, I used to love them.

Also, lest anyone start thinking that the Locals are your love which is here to stay, allow me to point out the prime example of why that isn't the case.

Faison's. And all of the carousel of opening/closing/opening "Faison's Family of Restaurants".


At 4:16 PM, February 20, 2006, Anonymous brittney said...

Fried cheesecake?! I had no idea such a deliciosity existed.

Maaaan. Regular ol' cheesecake is like mainlining heroin. Surely it doesn't get no better than that.

At 5:37 PM, February 20, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...

I've only ever had it once. It was deadly delicious and should be handled with extreme care. It makes regular cheesecake look like broccoli.

The only thing that tops it is the fried cookie dough at Jackson's.

Jackson's didn't make my list because the service is sloooooow. Other than that, I love it.

At 7:31 PM, February 21, 2006, Blogger Rachel said...

Mmmm, Demos'. When you need serious comfort food, you need the chicken rice soup, bread, and the spaghetti sampler. Mmmmm....


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