way too funky? When it doesn’t appear to be clean, that’s when.
I had pinpointed a restaurant in downtown Nashville that seemed to break a number of rules regarding restaurant ambience. But when we walked in and I took a look around, I turned to Chuck and said “I don’t think so.” I can’t say that it looked dirty—it was too dark to tell—but it certainly looked grungy or—to use one of my favorite descriptors—skeevy.
Fortunately, I had looked through the windows of another restaurant about a block or so down the street that had large windows, marble topped tables, and a huge central bar. While knowing nothing about this place, it seemed to be a better alternative. So we headed back down the street to Merchant’s Restaurant.
“Merchant’s Restaurant opened in 1988…. The original structure was a three-story building built circa 1870 which housed a pharmacy on the 1st floor, a hardware manufacturing company on the 2nd floor, and a wholesale drug company on the 3rd floor that was famous for producing the alcohol and opium based ‘Blood Medicine’ which can still be seen advertised on the brick walls today. The Merchant’s Hotel in 1892 offered the European Plan which was 25 cents a day for lodging and another 25 cents for a meal. Each room had a bed and a fireplace, and privacy was not guaranteed” (merchantsrestaurant. com).
“…The first floor of Merchants Restaurant is more of a bistro with black and white tiled floors, waiters in bow-ties and suspenders (Ed. Note: Like our server Tom shown here with some unknown woman.)
To go with the tots, I ordered the Southern Fry—a giant plate of fried catfish, fried shrimp, fried okra, and fried dill pickles.
The shrimp were a little small and were rather overcooked. But then I have been spoiled by the shrimp we ate while in Lafayette (LA) and then on the Gulf Coast. On the other hand, the fish were moist and flakey. The okra still retained a bit of crunch, and I suspect that these were unfrozen and coated in-house. And the pickles were interesting, but I do have a limited appetite for fried pickles.
Chuck had a craving for deviled eggs so ordered the appetizer portion to go with his meal.
And now for his main course. I wish you could have seen the expression on his face when this plate was set before him. The best I can describe it was a mix of awe and glee.
The boneless breast had been flattened to about one-third of an inch thick to speed cooking and was encased in a beautifully crisp coating. Did he manage to eat all of this? What do you think?
To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.