Thursday, February 6, 2014

Nashville's New & Notable Dining Options

Over the last couple of weeks, I've taken a hiatus from well, everything. I traveled to Los Angeles with my husband for Grammy celebrations and ended up extending my trip to soak up the sunny inspiration a bit longer... in total, 2 weeks. I've always loved the West Hollywood neighborhood (WeHo to residents), and was perfectly content except aside from missing Mr. Nichols. He headed back to Nashville for work with the rest of Music Row post-awards. There's much to share about my experiences including a guide for top places to shop, savor, sip and spoil yourself. Watch for posts in the next few days.

MOTO's  martini selection - with inclusions like blood oranges or limoncello are top choices.
For now, I'm focusing on the highlights of returning back to my favorite city in the world. Seeing my best guy and our house was something to look forward to, but as wheels touched down in pouring, freezing rain at BNA, part of me yearned to go right back. That desire quickly vanished as we immediately headed to MStreet's new rustic/Italian/chic/fab MOTO.

MOTO's Black spaghetti with lobster and chilies. In a word.. WOW! 

Because I stuck to vegan practices while away (and haven't really eaten meat/dairy in months: click for WHY), I wasn't as excited about the food as to see the finished space. It was as I expected, completely intoxicating. Brick walls, an open kitchen and well-appointed bar with unique tile top and amazing lighting/fixtures were details I noticed first. 

Fresh broccoli Rabe on one of the specialty wood oven-fired pizzas at MOTO

Once the menu arrived, I knew we might have a new go-to. Tim's a huge fan of pasta and all things pizza... so he was in heaven. I was equally happy with cleverly crafted options like a gorgeous raw winter vegetable salad, Cobia dish and selection of creative cocktails. We liked it so much that we went again the following night to taste what we couldn't sample at one sitting. From meatballs to slow-roasted squash I could eat at every meal, we agreed we would return -- and often.

The Cobia at Moto is served with Meyer lemon, herb salad and lentils. Healthy but so indulgent.
What makes me happiest is that another locally owned restaurant is taking all tastes and eating styles into consideration. I fell just as hard (still swooning) for Josephine on 12th when they opened a few weeks ago. I visited 3 times within 5 days to start. Yep, it's that good.

The scallops at Josephine are my obsession. Perfect in every way.
With so many beautifully prepared vegetable items and herb-infused cocktails, being fully satisfied while sticking to my eating practices is easy. Carnivores at my table raved about the burger, steak and the fried oyster sandwich each time, but I never felt left out. Josephine is the kind of place you want to 'cozy up' and drink wine all day (paired with gourmet fare, of course). You can actually do just that with their weekend brunch offerings. I'm so excited about what the spring menu will include!

This lunch sandwich of fried oysters, bacon and other tasty items is a daily pick at Josephine on 12th.
I was growing weary of similar menu items no matter how talented the chef (or great the flavor) involving restaurant openings over the last year or so. It seemed every new restaurant featured more of the same (how many fried green tomatoes can one town eat?). A bit of variety is a delightful change. I cannot wait to see what's next.

 This Josephine salad can be modified for me...hold the bacon and dressing - it's still so scrumptious! 

Do share your thoughts/opinion on dining out in Music City -- and details on the best dish you've enjoyed and where. Would love your feedback! 


  1. LOVE Josephine & can't wait to try MOTO!! All of these dishes look so delish!

  2. As a foreigner I find Nashville cuisine a little bit limited in its options. All popular places are betting for a menu with fancy southern with a touch of french cuisine (besides italians and burger and bbq places). I would really love to see some real innovation in Nashville culinary scene. Agreed, there's the Catbird Seat (but is definitely overrated, good, but overrated).