Monell's in Nashville
This is a repeat of something I posted in the "Tennessee BBQ" thread which I thought worth repeating in it's own thread.
I just returned from lunch at Monell's on 6th Ave in Nashville (we are planning on having dinner there Friday night before our West Tennessee Barbecue Pilgrimage, so this was purely in the interest of research
Everything at Monell's is served family style in large bowls that get passed around the 12 person tables. When I first sat down, the table contained bowls of cole slaw, cucumber & onions, and pickled beets, plus a large platter of hot biscuits and a bowl of very syrupy peach preserves. The cole slaw was subtly dressed (I detest overly sweet slaw) and had a nice bite to it. I did not try the beets (for which I am not the least bit apologetic) but the cucumber slices & onion were excellent (high proportion of peeled cucumber slices to the occasional small slice of onion). After a few minutes, bowls of hot side dishes began to appear: mashed potatoes (including skins), green beans, broccoli casserole, turnip greens, and (my favorite side dish at Monell's) corn pudding. Lightly sweetened, darkened from the oven and containing flecks of a very tasty smoked bacon, this is a wonderful dish that successfully straddles the line between sweet and savory.
Finally the entrees arrived: a huge basket of fried chicken and a small bowl of lasagna. If anything, the fried chicken has improved slightly since the last time I was there. Though I was at the wrong end of the table (they started the basket immediately to my left and it traveled all the way around the table before I got a shot at it), I managed to grab the last breast in the basket when the lawyer to my right (most of the lunch crowd at my table were lawyers) opted to answer his cell phone instead of paying attention to what he was doing. This breast had a lovely scorch mark on the crust from prolonged contact with the skillet it was fried in. It was exceptional -- as good as any chicken I've had in Nashville with the exception of that from the Beacon Light Tearoom. The lawyer realized the error of his ways and got them to bring more chicken around, but he had to make do for a while with watching me eat mine as there was only dark meat left, which he did not prefer. I helped out with a couple of the legs (which were also quite good) just as a matter of quality control. I passed on the banana pudding (I've never been a fan) but there were raves all around. Instead, I contented myself with a large square biscuit dripping with those excellent syrupy peach preserves. A couple of glasses of sweet (but not excessively so) tea and I was ready to face the afternoon. The nap will probably begin as soon as I finish this post.
Lunch was $9.75 including tax and the setting was wonderful. MOnell's is in an old house in the historic Germantown area of North Nashville, near the intersection of 6th and Monroe (just off Jefferson near the Farmer's Market). I had no wait at all today, though it was a lovely day out. According to the hostess, the weekend seatings get much more crowded (starting with Friday lunch), though she claimed never to have seen longer than an hour wait. All in all a most excellent lunch. Highly recommended!!