I wasn’t going to go. I’m so anti-hype that I usually avoid hyped things. I’ve still never seen "Titanic," for example.
But Father’s Day was coming up and Husk Nashville—newly opened and getting mostly excellent feedback—just added brunch service. Even though the menu has looked fairly critter heavy, I knew that if nothing else, I would be extremely happy with dessert because I follow the pastry chef, Lisa Donovan on Instagram. And I’ve seen some really impressive desserts over there.
So. Brunch. I’d hoped for a nice salad. But I figured there’d be an overpriced French toast on the menu. One vegetarian salad (greens with onions and radishes, according to the description) and one overpriced French toast were exactly the only two vegetarian items. <sad trombone> While I know that it was probably good French toast, I just wasn’t feeling it. So I asked the server if I could have the catfish entrée minus the catfish. She asked if I was vegetarian and told me that they could easily substitute something for the catfish so I could have a whole meal.
Bless her. That was very appreciated. She then clarified whether I was vegetarian or vegan and placed my order. I was much happier. And then even happier when two very beautiful rolls arrived with one dish of pork fat butter and one with regular butter. The benne seeds were a nod to the original Husk, I’d guess. I loved this roll. Yay for a free bread starter.
Next up was the arrival of Mr. Eats’s bone marrow appetizer. This is what he does when we go out, y’know—he goes nuts on the critter stuff. The marrow was still in the bone upon arrival. As in, a cow’s bone, split lengthwise arrived at our table in a piping hot cast iron skillet with a few bits of wood charcoal making the marrow sizzle from beneath the bone. The marrow came with a tiny, delicate spoon to scoop it out. I sipped tea and nicknamed all the other patrons in the dining room (Pocket Square, Baseball Cap, Linen Suit, Combover…).
And then the main courses arrived. Mr. Eats had the shrimp and grits (topped with oyster mushrooms and a poached egg and green tomato gravy), which he thoroughly enjoyed. I had a trio of items: asparagus, cheesy grits with oyster mushrooms and a green tomato gravy (as in, the shrimp and grits minus grits plus extra mushrooms), and the “farroto” (farro cooked risotto style) topped with lightly stewed spinach. I was one very happy vegetarian. Everything was cooked perfectly and tasted fantastic.
And even though I was pretty full (and so was Mr. Eats), we just had to get dessert. There was a lemon something or other I really wanted, but we just couldn’t have two, so we got the buttermilk pie with whipped cream and blueberries. The crust was a little too thick (an anomaly that day), but it was otherwise perfect. I kind of hate to mention that since I have never and have no plans in the future to make my own pie crust. So, y’know. After pie, Mr. Eats got a NuGrape (in the bottle) to go.
Anyway, that’s the food. Other interesting things! First, the space is awesome. It’s in a beautiful old house that would otherwise house a law practice. Out the front door is a view down the hill toward the river and to LP Field. Along the north side is a lovely patio that is shaded most of the day.
Around the back is the on-site garden, which was already heavy with green tomatoes and squash blossoms. It was impressive. Further back, the carriage house has been converted into a private dining space with its own kitchen and a small patio. Plans are to use this space for, among other events, visiting guest chefs to host dinners.
There are several separate dining rooms, including two on the main floor and more downstairs.
The service we had was fantastic. Everything was perfectly timed and our server was very knowledgeable about the menu. I will say that there was a slight delay in getting seated, in part because the staff was still getting briefed on the day’s menu (our seating for brunch was at 10 a.m.) and I was completely okay with that.
As for attire, I made Mr. Eats change out of shorts and into jeans for brunch, but the first man we saw at brunch had on shorts. As mentioned, another was in a linen suit, another was hipster’d out with cuffed skinny pants and then some folks looked like they just rolled out of bed an into the restaurant. Most were nicely casual, though. It’s nice enough to be appropriate for a date night kind of dinner, but also casual enough that it doesn’t have to be a special occasion. Our brunch (for two) ended up being about $70, which is pretty steep, but we could’ve used a bit of restraint and kept it to about $40.
The pricing for dinner is a bit odd to me because the vegetarian entree, which is usually about $10 cheaper than a beef course at other restaurants is only about $3 cheaper. The menu I looked at had a vegetarian plate for $25. That just seems a bit high, particularly when the most expensive entrée is $28. But, the restaurant hasn’t been open very long and several people have noted they’re still working out kinks, so I wonder if the vegetarian plate will settle in to a more reasonable price point.
But the point of our meal was for Mr. Eats to celebrate Father’s Day and he loved it. Mission: accomplished.