Etch Restaurant Nashville

I can’t believe I’ve waited so long to write this post. Deb Paquette is back, now at the recently-opened Etch and I just couldn’t be happier. Her previous restaurant, Zola was my favorite in Nashville, my go-to for any special occasion. The restaurant scene has exploded here in the time since Zola closed; there are now a lot of truly fantastic restaurants that are great for special occasions. But I’m really happy about Etch (which the chef has opened in partnership with the owners of Amerigo).

My first time dining there was during a special preview dinner. The menu has changed a bit with seasonality and specials, but this will give you a good idea of the level of food. And some things—like the butter tasting—have not changed. Yes, a butter tasting. It is as awesome as it sounds.  I didn’t try the duck (mixed with duck fat), but I enjoyed the hell out of the smoked plugra, truffle butter, and the goat butter. It’s a tough call, but I think the truffle butter was my favorite. Served with the butter tasting are wonderful house-made rolls.

truffle butter, smoked plugra butter, goat butter, duck butter

Next up, we ordered appetizers. Mr. Eats had a special scallop dish and we shared the ratatouille crudo. I expected to like the crudo, but I did not expect to love it. I mean, love it. This salad is also on the lunch menu; I highly recommend it. I believe it can be vegan without the parmesan (though the parmesan is excellent).

Ratatouille Crudo: carpacio squash, zucchini, fennel, champignons, provencal herbs, olive oil, eggplant salt, red bell tomato essence, parmesan
Scallops with chili chocolate mole and ginger grits

For entrees, Mr. Eats went with the server’s suggestion and got the short ribs (which are hiding behind the bowl in the grits photo). I ordered the cauliflower “steak.” Frankly, I was skeptical. See, I don’t like cauliflower. I was not excited to try it at all. But I trust Deb. And she did not let me down. The cauliflower was pressed on the grill, which gave it a smoky flavor and the trio of sauces made each bite a delight. Okay, I’m getting a little flowery with my language. It was really freakin’ good. I can’t believe I liked grilled cauliflower!

Cauliflower La Plancha: caramelized onion and fennel, mushrooms, miso blue cheese gravy, truffled pea pesto, kale, red bell essence

And though I knew it would be too much, I ordered the ginger grits. If you like ginger, be sure to order these grits. Again, I loved the grits.The tangerine butter was perfect, too.

Short Ribs: Japanese braised and fried, carrot coulis, pea ginger basil, garden vegetable mushroom stir-fry, shrimp
Ginger grits with tangerine butter

And finally, dessert. A very delicate semifreddo because, frankly, I could not handle chocolate by this point in the meal. My arteries were still dealing with all the butter I ate.

Goat cheese and almond frozen mousse, almond meringue cake, hibiscus sauce, raspberry gelee, honey

A couple of weeks ago, I visited Etch again; this time for lunch with a group of friends. Though I had been thinking about that ratatouille crudo since my first visit, I forced myself to branch out and order something different. Etch has several vegetarian and vegan options on their lunch menu, but I decided to order the Farro bowl. And--whoa, you're not going to believe this--I loved it. Even my dedicated carnivorous friend sitting next to me loved it. There are (as with all of the food at Etch) some really complex elements in this dish that come together really well. It's not too little, not too much, not too fussy. It's just right.

Farro Bowl: porcini-crimini sauce, toasted farro, confit mushrooms, dijon truffle spinach

Etch is just south of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in the bottom floor of the Encore Condominiums. Parking around there can be tight, but there is a complimentary valet. There was a full house at lunch on a weekday, so I’d recommend reservations, particularly if you want to go on a weekend.

Also, after seeing the menu, I expected Etch to be a lot more expensive than it is. You can easily have a three-course meal for two for about $100 + tip. And you’ll be full. It’d be better to split the butter tasting, an appetizer, and a dessert, leaving room for an entrée each and spending about $75. And you’ll still be full. And deliriously happy.

303 Demonbreun Street
Nashville, TN 37201
Closed Sundays

9 thoughts on “Etch Restaurant Nashville

  1. Diana

    Holy cow. Through a combination of inertia and ADD, I managed never to make it to Zola. This food looks amazing. It's next on my list!

  2. We went for my birthday, and we agreed that it was most likely the best meal we had ever had in Nashville. The layers of flavor and texture, the plating, the attention to detail and creativity were all outstanding. We sent our fellow wine-and-food-loving friends who said the same thing. Love, love, love Etch.

  3. For years, when asked what my favorite restaurant in Nashville was, without hesitation, I answered Zola. So it goes without saying that I was extremely sad to see it close.

    However, after dining at Etch 3 times now, I can honestly say that I adore it just as much, if not more, than Zola. Every single thing I've tasted (and I've tasted A LOT) has been absolutely incredible.

    My only wish is that it were closer to my house like Zola was. But hey, if anything will get me to venture downtown, Etch will!

  4. nicole

    I read a review about this in the scene and I was so excited to have Deb back in town as well. But, pregnancy made me forget about it, and I'm gonig to email my husband right now to make our last date night there before baby #2 arrives

  5. I attended a recent Meetup at etch. I, like you, was skeptical about the pressed cauliflower "steak" but it was really great! The ginger grits could almost be classified as a dessert. Although I'm a veg-head, the meat dishes got raves from the crowd. Thanks for the detailed review.

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