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.
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).
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!
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.
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.
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.
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