i’m not exactly known for being a fan of the nashville restaurant scene. and that statement right there is one that gets me in a world of trouble around these parts. but it’s the very statement that launched ceF – and in 2 1/2 years i still stand by it firmly. dining out in this town has been – with few exceptions, relatively painful for me. and then tandy wilson came along…
city house opened two years ago and by now i suppose you could call me somewhat of a regular. it’s way on the other side of town from me, but if i’m going out to dinner, that’s the only place i want to spend my money. ok, sushi. there’s the exception. and savarino’s because i love corrado and his family and it’s a wonderful place to be on any given afternoon. oh, and patterson house. i really like that place too – serious cocktails and some decent small plates… and sure, there are a handful of others, and sometimes they surprise me. but overall there’s just not that much to speak of. and dropping a wad of cash on something that strives for mediocrity? i’d rather make myself a bowl of cacio e pepe ANYDAY.
but tandy cooks with a sensibility that speaks to me. even if a random dish misses the mark, i always appreciate where he was going with it. because i ‘get’ the food at city house in a big way. and if i had a restaurant, it’d feel very much like this place. but i will never have a restaurant. and so i eat here. and the fact that stephanie mixes me a fine, fine aviation, which is a rarity in almost any town – or city, delights me to no end.
the wood fired ovens reach a solid 750 degrees and the pizza dough undergoes a solid three day age. the roast chicken is consistently damn good and chef knows his way around a pig. tandy’s a snout to tail kinda guy that supports local farmers, sourcing his meat and produce to within any locavore’s comfort zone.
but it’s often the antipasti and the interesting salads that surprise me. and the one pictured above is a version of the one i had there this past friday night.. i roasted red and golden beets, sliced a still firm fuyu persimmon, mint, toasted walnuts, chili flakes and a drizzle of olive oil finished with a thoughtful placement of crunchy salt. all that and some ricotta salata. just beautiful.
it’s thoughtful plates like this one that excite me. i would never have put beets with persimmons yet somehow they are wonderful together. a dish like this is why city house continues to be both an inspiration and an oasis for me here in nashville.
and for the record, a bad dinner at a restaurant never makes me irritable or outraged. after all, it’s just one meal that i’m even lucky enough to get to eat. and really, when you’re out at a restaurant it’s more about the people, the evening – the memory.
but at home in my kitchen? a bad dinner? now that could really piss me off…