You know how there are those restaurants you keep meaning to visit, but you just never get around to it? Well, I don’t have just one; I have several. Favorite Nashville restaurants of friends that I’ve
never visited yet to visit include Eastland Café, Sperry’s, Sportsman’s Grille, Capitol Grille, Catbird Seat, The Palm, Lockeland Table…the list is long. We just don’t get out as often as we used to.
So, now we’re trying to challenge ourselves by trying a new place on the rare occasion we get a date night. For our most recent date night, we finally got to try Flyte (which has now been open for six years!).
Anyway, I think Flyte hadn’t been much on our radar since it’s a tiny bit off the main Gulch and downtown dining areas. Though the advantage of that is plentiful parking.
When we arrived, we were trying to figure out whether to go with the $35 3-course tasting menu or order on our own. We settled on choosing our own and I’m glad we did, because otherwise, I would not have gotten one of the best soups I’ve ever had, the chanterelle with a chestnut pudding. It was delicious. I would have been happy to have two more bowls of this soup as my 3-course meal.
For my entrée, I was expecting a pumpkin farro, which had been on the menu for several weeks, but chef Matt Lackey decided it was time for a change, so I was actually the first diner to have “The Cellar,” which featured Carolina golden rice. While that doesn’t sound particularly exciting or filling, the opposite is true. I’ve never had this particular rice before and its taste is very unique. A bit like really good, slightly buttered popcorn. Mine was served with some field greens, crispy hazelnuts, a little pumpkin and paper-thin sheets of French breakfast radish. It was delicious.
Mr. Eats had an appetizer of scallops and a porchetta (which is not currently on the menu, but is likely to be back when possible), both of which he enjoyed immensely. Though he did very much like my soup. It’s telling, though, that he didn’t ask for a second bite. Those scallops were apparently very good.
Even though we were stuffed (the portions look deceptively modest in size), there’s no way we could skip dessert. A friend of mine had been just a few days before and advised, “get all the desserts.” Tempting, but instead, we got a Cluster’s Last Stand (their take on the flavors of the Goo Goo Cluster) and The Great Pumpkin for me. I don’t do chocolate + peanut butter, but I had a little taste of some caramel foam on that cluster dessert that was quite tasty. And every bit of my own was fantastic, too. Though I think the apple cider sorbet was my favorite part.
Now, for the boring, but necessary stuff. What you need to know: it’s Nashville, so the dress is casual, but it’s a nice restaurant, so wear your date night clothes. Just don’t be offended by the Music Row types wearing Chucks seated next to you. The service is, of course, outstanding. Knowledgeable and attentive, but not intrusive. And though it’s great for a date, I felt like the tables were a bit too close together or maybe the sound wasn’t quite right for it to be “intimate.” Or perhaps I was just unfortunate in being seated next to a man who ENUNCIATED VERY CLEARLY AND LOUDLY.
And the pricing isn’t cheap, but certainly isn’t the most expensive in town. The $35 3-course tasting menu is a great deal, but if you order on your own, you can expect to spend closer to $50 per person (more, with drinks). But it’s worth it. There’s obviously great care in the selection and preparation of ingredients. The chef has even brought food in from his own farm. Local ingredients are used whenever possible. And the desserts are works of art that, unfortuately, my camera cannot appropriately capture. It’s also good to know that, though not necessary, making a reservation is a good idea, particularly if you have a special dietary requirement. There are plenty of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options available, but if nothing strikes your fancy (the menu is updated often), the chefs seem not only willing, but happy to prepare something special. It’s nice when a special request is met as an interesting creative challenge rather than with dread. I appreciate that (though I did order off the menu and with no subsitutions!).
Also good to know is that Flyte has a very generous happy hour that’s from 4:30 until 7:30 (!) Tuesday through Saturday (!). And there’s a menu specific to the lounge area (which includes a veggie burger); during happy hour, you can get 25% off the anitpasti and lounge menu. In plainer terms, you can get a $6 veggie burger with chips and a $2 beer until 7:30pm Tuesday through Saturday in the (very comfy) lounge area. Not bad.
Also, good news! Right now, Flyte is offering a special deal on the purchase of gift cards (through the Christmas season)! Any gift card purchased up to $99 gets an automatic bonus 20% added. Gift cards of $100 or more get a 25% bonus. It’s a great deal and a date night is a wonderful gift.
Flyte World Dining and Wine
Open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday
718 Division Street
615 – 255 – 6200