January 17, 2013

A visit to Rolph & Daughters in Germantown

I have this working list of restaurants that I want to visit in Nashville. Currently, there are 12 names on the list! Rolph & Daughters was next up, so I asked my friends, Amelia and Hallie, if they wanted to join and made a reservation for three. With all of the hype about Nashville's newest neighborhood restaurant, we were really anticipating our night out!

I certainly commend the chef and owner, Phillip Krajeck, for his masterful and dynamic menu. Many of the dishes were very intriguing and contained a unique blend of flavor and texture. For example, when was the last time you tasted seaweed butter? And what is a Jerusalem artichoke? I shared the pleasure of trying both of these items and let's just say that we polished them off without any problems. We may have ever licked the plate too.

Over the course of the evening, the kitchen received numerous complements from our table. The squid ink canestri pasta with gulf shrimp and chorizo was incomparable to any squid ink pasta I have tried. Its flavor was rich, yet not too overpowering. The garganelli verde with heritage pork ragout was hearty and perfect for the chilly temperatures outside. Even the skirt steak was interesting. Cooked to a perfect medium-rare, it came with a turnip and olive garnish that I surely do not know how to make at home. For dessert, we shared the Bambiloni's. These are sugar-coated, light, and fluffy doughnuts filled with vanilla cream and served with a side of chocolate dipping sauce. All of our food exceeded my expectations and I am already thinking about my next visit.

The thing is, while the kitchen's performance was practically flawless, we had to wait over 30 minutes to be seated; even with a reservation that was confirmed earlier in the day. Their website encourages parties to visit without a reservation, stating that the long community tables will be reserved for walk-ins, but unless you want to wait all night, I would certainly recommend a reservation. The other thing, which was a little unusual, was the aloof demeanor of our waitress as she presented various items from the menu. She used the word, "cool" four times! The strangest part was when she described the "hen of the woods" as a mushroom that is, quote: "really earthy, almost tasting like dirt." Who wants to eat something that tastes like dirt? Even though I am a supporter of trying new things, I probably don't have to explain why we didn't order the farro gemelli.

All in all, the atmosphere at Rolph & Daughters is bustling with hipsters, sophisticated men and women, and food enthusiasts like myself. The bar area is a great spot to grab drinks and dinner (if there is space) and offers an assortment of beer, cocktails, and wines. This is much more than your neighborhood restaurant and I foresee it becoming one of Nashville's finest.

Rolph & Daughters
700 Taylor Street
Nashville, TN 37208
Monday - Sunday 5:30 - 10:00

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