Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Nashville Restaurant Week

Since moving to Nashville, Mike and I have been amazed by the endless dining options and are always on a quest to try out new places.  Nashville Originals are a group of independent, locally-owned restaurants in and around the city.  The group is currently hosting Restaurant Week where each restaurant offers limited menus, usually of 2- to 4- courses,  at a fixed price.  Many of the places are a little beyond our typical budget for dining out so we were excited for the chance to experience some new places without the high price tag.  We decided to each choose one option from the list. 

Tuesday night, we headed back to historic downtown Franklin to do a little shopping in the adorable boutiques before trying out Mike's choice of SOL and 55 South.  Chef Jason McConnell has made his mark on Nashville food at a number of popular spots and currently heads the adjoining restaurants.  From what I've read, SOL, which serves upscale, modern Mexican cuisine, used to occupy the entire building.  Recently, however, half of the space was given a "rustic southern makeover" and converted into 55 South- a restaurant named after the highway connecting Memphis and New Orleans and representing its mix of Cajun and southern comfort food. 

The two restaurants shared a combined menu for Restaurant Week so we were able to try a mixture of food from both places.  We were lucky enough to be sat at SOL so we had the added bonus of free chips and salsa prior to our meals.  The chips were the best I've ever had. We were given a menu and told to choose one appetizer, one entree, and one dessert.

My first course was the Boudin Fritters which consisted of Cajun pork and rice sausage balls, breaded and covered in a delicious spicy mustard sauce.  They were awesome (and gorgeous!).

Mike's first choice was the Tuna Nachos.  He (and I!) both loved them.  This was one of my few positive experiences with tuna.

For our entrees, I went for the Cochinita Pibil while Mike opted for the "Three Way" sampler consisting of red beans and rice, seafood gumbo, and jambalaya.


cochinita pibil
Mine was served with a pack of homemade tortillas and a sour orange mojo sauce so good we were literally dipping our fingers in it to eat it.  Mike commented that he wished they sold it by the jarful so we could put it on everything.

After taking a breather, we each chose one of the dessert options.  He obviously went for the Messy Sundae (from which I immediately scooped all the whipped cream off the top) and I had the Banana Frita.  We were taking bets as to how the banana would be prepared after reading the description and were presently surprised by the creativity involved.  The peanut butter and banana combination reminded me a little too much of recent PB and banana sandwich obsession but the fried cinnamon sugar tortillas on the outside were incredible. 
banana frita
messy sundae
I joked that I couldn't believe Mike hadn't licked the melted chocolate off the outside of his glass till he turned it around and I saw evidence of several finger swipes along the side :)

We left completely stuffed and so excited about the experience.  We felt like the limited menu forced us to try things we might not normally order but absolutely loved.  I will definitely be craving both of the appetizers and my entree and will have to make a return trip soon.

I can't wait for my pick this Friday :)


  1. What is cochinita pibil? I've never heard of it!!

    Think you could recreate that banana dessert at home? It looks awesome.

  2. cochinita pibil: (from their menu) Pork roasted for 8 hours in Yucatan Spices served with Sour Orange Mojo, Poblano Rice, and Fresh Tortillas.

    It was basically really moist pork in a lightly flavored sauce that I put into their homemade tortillas with rice, tomato pieces, cheese, and sauce and ate like a taco. Delish!