Amico’s New York Pizza

Always fans of new local restaurants, and hoping to support the small business owners in our area, we were excited to see that a new pizza/italian restaurant was announced near us in Nolensville, TN.  Amico’s New York Pizza has been open a few weeks and really seems to have a pretty good handle on what they’re doing.

Most meals start with complimentary garlic rolls that are doused with a good bit of parmesan and garlic, and have soaked up a pretty good deal of olive oil.  We haven’t tried their traditional Italian dishes, but I imagine it will be a wonderful tool for soaking up red sauce.

The bruschetta is one appetizer that has quickly become our favorite whether we order take out or eat in.  The french bread is slightly toasted and has a nice bit of olive oil and garlic, and is slightly thicker than what would traditionally be thought of with this dish.  The tomatoes are simply mixed with a bit of herbs and other flavorings, and topped with some parmesan.

The pizza’s here are quite substantial, as you can see.  This particular pizza did come out a bit greasy, but both the cheese and the other toppings are heftily applied and quite tasty on their own.

While the quality of the pizza doesn’t quite rise to the level of Joey’s House of Pizza (in my opinion, the best around), the crust is thin with a slight bit of crispiness to it, and a little bit of chewiness once you bite into it.  I could do with a slightly crispier crust, but we’ve found that a few minutes in a warm oven does wonders (now we just need to invest in that pizza stone).  Overall, everything we’ve had at Amico’s has been a nice surprise, and we’re happy to see that they’ve gotten off to a nice start.

Amico’s New York Pizza
7177 Nolensville Rd.
Nolensville, TN 37135

Amico's New York Pizza on Urbanspoon

Wandering Wednesday: The Carnegie Deli

On a trip to NYC over the summer, we got the opportunity to take in a lot of fabulous deli foods that just don’t show up down in Nashville.

Every meal starts with a both dill and sweet pickles, that are both tangy and sweet, but at the same time garlicky and smooth.  Kind of a juxtaposition, but there are not your typical Vlasics.

That monstrosity you see above is the Carnegie’s version of a turkey-bacon club.  It is seriously at good 10-12 inches tall and absolutely impossible to put in one’s month.  Yes,  I know it’s far too much to eat in even two (maybe three) sittings, but you can’t blame NYC for going big.  As far as taste goes, it wasn’t anything you wouldn’t expect from a turkey club, that therein lies it’s beauty.  Like most of everything else in NYC, they just do what they do well, and subscribe to the go-big or go-home theory.

The corned beef sandwiches at the Carnegie are likewise huge, but definitely not bland.  The corned beef just about falls apart and has a taste unlike roast beef that emphasizes the beefiness of the cut but doesn’t have any textural issues like brisket sometimes does.

The half pastrami, half corned beef sandwich is a peppery, beefy slice of heaven that puts what you find in Nashville grocery stores to shame.  The pieces fall apart and each bit of pepper and other seasoning.

The beef and potato Knish was, despite looking heavy and a bit unappetizing, actually light and with a crispy thin crust.

Of course, cheesecake is one of the great things at the Carnegie, and can even do without the cherry topping you see above.  The cake is heavy and dense, slightly sweet, and doesn’t have the slightest hint of cream cheese when you bite into it, like you often do when having cream cheese outside of NYC.

Carnegie Deli on Urbanspoon

Rotier’s

 

As we have discussed from time to time here, just about our favorite type of place to eat is one of those places that keeps everything simple, doesn’t try to change to meet the newest fad, and most of all, lacks any and all pretension.  Rotier’s is perhaps the epitome of places like this, having served some of the best burgers in Nashville for decades.

Satisfying and comforting are the bywords at Rotier’s, and this goes from the front page of the menu to the very back.  Take, for example, Rotier’s fried pickles.  Instead of frying the pickle chips, Rotier’s fries the whole dill slice, with a thick, crispy batter that encases the pickles in a super-hot wrapping.  It is served with a spicy ranch dressing.  Maybe it’s just a southern thing, but I can’t think of anything much better than fried pickles.

A few years ago a friend of mine clued me into a little known secret about Rotier’s.  That is, if they have it on hand, and can do it, they’ll try (you just have to ask nicely).  This friend had realized that Rotier’s kitchen keeps pimento cheese on hand, and what better topping on Rotier’s cheeseburger on french bread than some creamy, cool pimento cheese?  Really, this addition turned my love of burgers up to a whole new level.  The combination of tastes and textures that the pimento cheese adds, as well as the perfectly cooked burger patty with a nice crust and good juiciness (with probably only salt to season) results in a delicious burger that puts most “gourmet burger” restaurants to shame.

Being a little less adventurous, Sarah ordered the regular cheeseburger on french bread.  The burger was simple and delicious.

Another one of Rotier’s secrets is that they make a mean milkshake, even if it’s not on the menu.  The chocolate shake is creamy and thick, and probably the closest thing you can get in Nashville to the milkshakes from the drug stores of old we hear so much about.  All in all, Rotier’s will leave you satisfied, stuffed, and maybe a little bit surprised.

Rotier’s
2413 Elliston Pl
Nashville, TN 37203

Rotier's on Urbanspoon

Wandering Wednesday: Patti’s Restaurant

With our recent trip to Land Between the Lakes, we’ve already had a chance to tell you about some good BBQ we had at Knoth’s, so we thought we’d also let you in on another hidden gem not too far from Nashville.  Patti’s 1880 settlement is a restaurant/roadside attraction/kitsch emporium/little piece of Americana hidden in Grand River’s, KY.  When I say full of kitsch, I mean decorated like your crazy aunt’s house, but in a good way.

Patti’s has become well known for their comfort food staples and likes to add a little uniqueness to some of their dishes.  The bread is cooked in a terra cotta pot and comes with honey butter and on the night we visited, strawberry butter, I believe.  The bread is light, fluffy, and hot, and is a neat start to your meal.

Salads also feature a nice touch here, with a hot bacon dressing that creates a really unique flavor when you get a bit of bacon dressed spinach and one of the mandarin orange slices on your fork at the same time.

Patti’s claim to fame is the myriad of pork options they serve, from pork chops to pork loin prepared in all sorts of ways.  One of the top sellers is the 2-inch pork chop.  I’ll say it again, a 2-inch thick pork chop, like the thing you would see Emeril come up with and wonder if those really exist.  I don’t know about you, but I guess I’ve just been beaten into submission to expect a 1/2 inch thick pork chops from the grocery store.  Anyway, given that these mastodon chops are rather hard to come by in everyday life, I had to give them a try.  The seasoning is tangy but not spicy, and is doused with a savory au jus that got soaked up by the loaded baked potato.  Overall, it’s basically like a steak, and I’d maybe compare the texture profile to that of a ribeye or flank steak, with enough heft to make you work, but more than enough meaty flavor to make up for it.

Sarah decided to try the pork loin wrapped with bacon and topped with fried apples.  The pork loin was tender and the apples were perfectly spiced.

Pies are a thing of wonder at Patti’s, with no less than 3-inches of meringue.  One of our pet peeves with meringue is when preparers try to mess with an already good thing.  In this case, Patti’s gets it right with a chocolately filling that tasted like a chocolate fudge and simple, substantial meringue that was light, fluffy, and slightly sweet.

Patti’s is definitely a stop you should make when visiting the area, but be sure to get reservations ahead of time, as Patti’s seems to be ground zero for families visiting the area out on their “big dinner out night”.   We definitely enjoyed our stop, and certainly didn’t leave hungry, although Patti’s will leave your wallet a little lighter than you might expect.

Patti's 1880's Settlement on Urbanspoon

McCreary’s Irish Pub

I guess we’ve been on a bit of a pub kick lately, maybe because the weather is starting to turn, maybe because work has been busy and we need something comforting, or maybe just because it’s football season.  Anyway, we recently took advantage of another Groupon, this time to McCreary’s Irish Pub in downtown Franklin, TN.  Sarah has always been partial to this place since they carry Woodchuck on draught, while it reminds me of a few of the places frequented when I made a trip to Europe while in college.

To go with the relaxed vibe at McCreary’s, the food is equally relaxed, but does feature some Irish staples.  Not being able to interest Sarah in a deep fried, bacon-wrapped egg, we ended up settling on the Irish Cheese Fries.  While nothing was particularly special about this appetizer, McCreary’s may have stumbled upon a wonderful trick that keeps each bite a crispy, crunchy, cheesy amalgamation.  Basically, whether they meant to or not, the fries for the cheese fries were slightly over-done, resulting in that dark color you see above and fries that were able to stand up to the toppings.

The fish and chips features 3 or 4 cod fillets that are coated in a beer-y, crunchy coating.  The fries are your standard issue steak fries, but all of the items meld well when hit with a hefty shot of malt vinegar.  The tartar sauce is not your standard issue, relish and mayo sauce, but has a few other bits and pieces and spices to add to the overall flavor.  Myself, just give me a good deal of vinegar and I’m good to go.

The corned beef and cabbage featured 4 slices of tender corned beef with a side of creamy mashed potatoes.  The cabbage was tender and delicious.

When we finished with our comfort meal, we wandered down to CeCe’s frozen yogurt for some sweeter fare.  McCreary’s straddles the line as a good date night place that could also be a night out with the boys type of place, so give it a try.

McCreary’s Irish Pub
414 Main St
Franklin, TN 37064

McCreary's Irish Pub & Eatery on Urbanspoon

Bull and Whistle Pub and Eatery

Of all the restaurant types we enjoy frequenting, pubs would probably have to be in the top three.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be an Irish pub with Irish food, but just a place with the laid back feel, comforting food, and oh yeah, can’t forget the football and beer.  One place we’ve found that does a good job of these things is the Bull & Whistle Pub in Lebanon.  Housed in The Mill, it’s one of the only businesses that has made it in that mixed use development since we found out about it.

Prior to a recent stop at one of the recent Cumberland University football games (5-1, no less!), we stopped by for a quick stop before cheering the Bulldogs on. We ordered sandwiches, which were accompanied by a salad filled with bacon, almonds, sunflower seeds, and cheese on a bed of romaine lettuce.

The cheese fries are heavy on the cheese, covered with bacon, and then dusted with a bit of cayenne and other tangy spices.

The grilled chicken salad was a little bit different with a pair of chicken tenderloins on the bun as opposed a single chicken breast.  The result is a tender and juicy, if slightly unwieldy sandwich.  The bacon and cheese are are your standard issue fair, but the bun is nicely buttered and toasted.

The pork loin sandwich is one of the only ones I’ve seen in the Nashville area.  The pork was lightly fried and served on a buttered toasted bun.  The waitress mentioned she liked it better grilled.  I’ll have to try that next time!

Bull and Whistle Pub and Eatery
300 N Maple Street
Lebanon, TN 37087

The Bull and Whistle Pub and Eatery on Urbanspoon

Wandering Wednesday: Knoth’s Restaurant

Most of our readers probably have heard of Tennessee’s myriad of options when planning a relaxing weekend to get away from everything.  With the Smoky Mountains being so popular (and a little pricey and tough to reserve!), there are a lot of nearby places to travel to that might not be the first to come to mind.  In search of a nearby location to take in some of the natural beauty, and get in some rest before the school year got back in full swing, we took a long-weekend northwest of Nashville to visit the Land Between the Lakes. With a beautiful bed and breakfast on Lake Barkley we were able to take advantage of everything from the natural beauty of the wildlife to trying a few off the beaten path places.

On the advice of the helpful docent at the LBL visitor’s center, we stopped by Knoth’s BBQ, which is just a stone’s throw away from the Barkley Dam.  Apparently Mr. Knoth is quite the BBQ-er based on the accolades that had been framed on the wall from his BBQ competition days.  Service was super-friendly and super-quick, to the point where we were debating on whether or not to order another sandwich and/or dessert.  The BBQ sandwich is the highlight here, with a good smoky flavor and pulled pork pieces that had retained their juicy character.  Knoth’s is unique in that its sauce is not your typical tomato/vinegar/spice style, but rather tastes almost as if there’s a bit of honey in the sauce.  The result in a slightly sweet, but still tangy sauce that is like nothing I’ve ever had in my Memphis BBQ outings.   Knoth’s does have a spicier, thinner sauce, but the honey BBQ sauce wins out in my book.

Knoth’s Bar-B-Que
728 Us Highway 62
Grand Rivers, KY 42045

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