On our last night in Nashville, we ventured to the Germantown Cafe, one of the top rated restaurants in Nashville, to see what all the fuss was about and hopefully enjoy some of the local cuisine beyond greasy fried foods smothered in barbecue sauce. I’m happy to report that we had a very pleasant experience here and I would absolutely return there again. The atmosphere was quaint and cozy, the crowd a mix of all ages from locals to foreign CMA music fest concert goers. Though we didn’t have reservations, we didn’t have to wait for a table. The hostess was kind and happy. She seated us a a table near the glass window which allowed just enough of the setting sunlight to peer in to the restaurant. There was a great view of the Nashville skyline.
I was pretty impressed with our server, who had the patience of an angel when answering all of our detailed questions about the menu and the daily specials. She was a perfect example of what every server should be: kind, patient, attentive, prompt. She possessed an all encompasing knowledge of the items on the menu and was not afraid to steer me in the right direction when it came to ordering the restaurant’s specialties.
We started with the strudel and the fried green tomatoes. The tomatoes, served hot, were deep fried in a crisp and greasy (but not too greasy) coating and topped with miniature goat cheese rounds, accompanied by a spicy red bell pepper aioli sauce. We devoured these within seconds.
The Germantown Cafe Strudel was served with a tropical salsa. Studel, German for “whirlpool” or “eddy” is a type of pastry composed of thin layers of dough spread with a filling and rolled and baked until crisp and golden brown. The dough tastes just like the Greek phyllo dough, commonly known as a puff pastry shell. (These sheets can be found in the frozen aisle of your local grocery store.) Strudel is commonly filled with fruit but it can come in all different varieties and be savory as well. The Germantown Cafe Strudel was a savory, spicy blend of chicken, cream cheese and peppers. It was very different and that is why I loved it!
The most jaw dropping part of our dining experience at the Germantown Cafe may have been the bread basket, which was really a little bundle of heaven. Imagine biting into soft and buttery round roll right out of the oven – sounds like a pretty ordinary indulgence. Now imgaine that the bread is deep fried, making the outside crust crisp, flaky and a bit oily with a soft warm center. Bread is absolutely my weakness in this life and I have sampled many different kinds but I’ve never had anything like this before. And there was a silver lining. Indulging in a deep fried roll made it easier for me to limit myself to one.
The caesar salad was equally as delicious, with its crisp romaine lshaved parmegiano regiano cheese and deep friend herbed croutons. Add a piece of grilled shrimp, this could have been dinner.
The Germantown Cafe offered a generous portion of a crab cakes, placing three decent size lightly pan fried cakes consisting mainly of jumbo lump crabmeat on a dish with an abundant serving of french fries and green beans. The crab cakes were served with a mustard-tartar sauce, a nice and creative accompaniment to this classic dish, without being over the top.
The plum pork was tender and delicious. Thinly sliced pork medallions grilled and served in a savory but sweet plum sauce over mashed potatoes and served with green beans.
I decided to take a chance on the fresh catch of the day, the Grouper. Served over creamy polenta and accompanied by a heaping portion of lima beans drizzled with a light chunky tomato sauce, this dish was a much welcomed change from the greasy southern barbecue we loved but overdosed on. The Grouper was delicate but firm, easily flaked with a fork and oozing with its own juices. A light cream sauce with parsley adorned the grouper, enhancing its own flavor.
The only negative part of the dining experience was that we were too stuffed to try the desserts, which sounded sinfully delicate and delicious – but it’s all the more reason to return again next year!