Nashville has become a real foodie town lately. For the last year or so, it seems like every week there’s some cool new restaurant opening. This month alone, I’ve got two friends debuting new eateries: Miranda Whitcomb’s Josephine, which will be located in the 12 South neighborhood, and chef Josh Habiger’s Pinewood Social, located in an old trolly barn in a development called Rolling Mill Hill. (If Josh’s name seems familiar—and not only because he was one of the founding chefs at Nashville’s groundbreaking and award-winning restaurant Catbird Seat—it’s because he hosted the most recent Joint project, which I wrote about last month.)
One of my very favorite new places to chow is Rolf and Daughters, helmed by chef Philip Krajeck, who’s a great guy in and out of the kitchen. RAD is perfect in all the right ways: The atmosphere is appealing—it’s located in a handsome space in what used to be the boiler room of a century-old Werthan sack factory in the Germantown neighborhood—and the crowd is always full of interesting folks, while the staff is friendly and attentive. And the food is out of this world. Italian is Phil’s thing, and his pastas are sublime. The garganelli pasta with pork ragout kills me. I get it every time I’m there, which is a lot. Hell, I’ve even dreamed about that dish. (Not kidding!)
Last week, RAD hosted the first of a ten-part dinner series in which Philip invites into his kitchen the chefs associated with Bon Appétit‘s 2013 “Hot 10 List,” in which the magazine highlights its picks for best new restaurant in the country (RAD was on it, of course).
Make that a feast. That’s the only way to describe what he and Joshua McFadden from Portland’s Ava Gene’s whipped up. Though everything was damn great, the standout for me was one of the starters: ribs (above) fermented in cayenne and colatura, an anchovy derivative. I can’t stop thinking about them; they might become the second thing of Phil’s to enter my subconscious and show up in my dreams.
As if the meal wasn’t enough, as a parting gift, all guests received a poster designed by local artist Bryce McCloud, featuring the mugs of Phil and Joshua and signed by both chefs. Along with Mayme Gretsch’s Utterly Soft Serve ice cream, it was the perfect way to end.
Philip Krajeck, Joshua McFadden, and Mayme Gretsch.
Photos: Matt Duckor/Bon Appetit