Etch – Nashville, Tennessee
Etch came highly recommended by our crowdsourcing team. Known for their roasted cauliflower (odd thing to be known for), Etch attracted us due to an insanely creative menu. The offerings have many flavors merged together that does not make sense on paper – ingredients that are certainly not traditional to be put together. But not only do they make it work, they hit it out of the park.
The modern interior seems to attract a wide array of visitors. Some were dressed for an elegant night and some (like us) were just a smidge above casual. There was a small bar in the front of the restaurant (looked like for drinks and walk-ins) and there was an enormous bar in the restaurant itself that gave guests a front seat view of the open kitchen.
We were handed a menu as our server told us all about Etch, the chef, and the style of dining. Slowly, we began to see plates making their journey from the kitchen to their final destination. Everything not only looked amazing but also looked like generous portion sizes – the cauliflower alone was the size of my head.
As we deliberated our approach to this menu and having difficulty choosing, we decided to tap into our “sharing” trip theme and order a bunch of the appetizers as they all sounded amazing.
Starting with wine, we went with what we liked – a bottle of Riesling from Mosel, Germany. All the noms for Kabinett Riesling, one of the driest forms of the varietal, easy drinking and goes with everything.
A short time later, food started arriving at the table and then once it started it did not stop!
Italian smoked strip steak, lemon almond salt, garam masala oil, parmesan, fried garlic, pickled onion, eggplant frites
The meat itself was infused with a smokey flavor that really came through well. I love adding salt through other ingredients rather than just salt outright so the use of fried garlic and parmesan complimented the meat well. And you cannot go wrong with fried garlic – just delightful. The eggplant frites were great on their own but our server instructed us to use them as crostini for all the components on the plate. Great idea!
Truffled pea puree, salted almonds, feta crema, red bell sauce
The famous cauliflower! The portion size was absolutely enormous and when ordering this dish, the server could notice the hesitation – we wanted to order it but even the three of us could not eat all that cauliflower unless it was the only thing we ate. Luckily, our server gave us the inside scope that there is a secret half sized option – the perfect solution to our dilemma. Even the half size portion was a good amount of cauliflower. Like some broccoli dishes we have had, the cauliflower was charred to give a crispy quality. There were three dipping sauces – a truffled pea puree, the feta crema, and the red bell sauce – all of them were incredible but I think my favorite was the truffled pea puree. It was so fun to dunk the cauliflower to add different flavors and the portion size of the sauces was generous for the dipping ratio. It is to see why this is a crowd favorite – even if you are not a huge cauliflower fan – I personally do not care for cauliflower but this worked for me.
Confit duck, puff pastry, sweet potato, caramelized onions, orange curd, japa caramel, black olive mole, cherry coffee butter
Probably the dish I was most excited to trip given the description – everything sounded amazing. Upon opening the pastry, it was a burst of aromas. It was so fragrant, like a fall candle – the spice game was on point. One bite and it was instant thanksgiving in a hot pocket – the best hot pocket ever! The duck confit paired with the sweet potato, caramelized onions, and the orange curd that acted like a cranberry sauce – it really was thanksgiving meal in a puff pastry. The prefect combination of sweet and savory. Loved, loved, loved everything about this dish.
Octopus and Shrimp Bruschetta
Bacon, arugula, fennel, roasted tomato, capers, garlic oil, manchego, sunflower seed hummus
Flavors here were all great but my only compliant is the ratio of octopus and shrimp to everything else seemed a bit disproportionate. Perhaps they should change the name to a salad instead of a bruschetta as it was more an arugula salad topped with some octopus and shrimp rather than the reverse. For the pieces of octopus and shrimp that were present, they were cooked very well and not over done.
Fried Brussel Sprouts
Chili sauce, sesame crema, crushed peanuts
Though technically under the sides portion of the menu, we can never turn down the change to order brussel sprouts. It had a nice brown crisp on the vegetable to form a caramelized layer of goodness. They were also able to accommodate putting the chili sauce n the side (thank you!). Another awesome dish that I would highly recommend – even if you “think” you do not like brussel sprouts as these are addicting.
The fish special of the evening
Corvina fish, goat cheese polenta, cherry chutney
To round out the meal, the boys wanted to give this entree special a go. First of all, goat cheese polenta is always a good choice and Etch had a great goat cheese polenta – nice a creamy but had weight to it. The fish was flaky in texture and a more mild “fish” taste. The char from the pan fry actually gave it a bit of sweetness that rounded out the flavor nicely. I am not a fish eater but found myself going back for another bite.
Well we went in with the attitude that if it was not enough food, we could always order more. But I think we hit the nail of the head as we were perfectly stuffed. We glanced at the dessert menu and while I am sure they were all amazing, nothing jumped out at me that I “had to have it” and given the limited stomach space available, we passed on dessert.
What a wonderful meal! Etch really has something special going on and we are grateful we had the opportunity to dine here. Such dynamic use of ingredients and creative dishes. In the land of BBQ and hot chicken, Nashville can clean up quite nicely.
Now it was time to head to Broadway and see what all the fuss was about. Everyone – and I mean everyone – we talked to insisted experiencing Broadway was quintessential Nashville. When I pressed for which bars hit, the response was always the same – “any of them”.