The wife and I were vacationing with some friends this past week (who knew there were beaches in Alabama?) and on the way home we decided to stop and have a luxurious night in Nashville. We used Hotwire to find a fancy hotel, and then searched the internet high and low to find the perfect fancy pants restaurant. We finally settled on Radius 10, which looks like it is in a reconfigured small warehouse and is in some part of downtown that seems to be in the early stages of gentrification. Radius 10 did not disappoint.
First, it was half-priced wine night (Mondays); always a plus. We chose a tasty, light, hints of cherry Acacia Pinot Noir. The meal began with a chicken salad amuse bouche. Proving that I may be a terrible food reviewer, I did not eat this amuse bouche because it was lathered in mayonnaise, and there are certain foods that I hate no matter how high the quality, and mayonnaise is one of them. eggs, oil, vinegar. I like all of these things. Together. One of the most disgusting things I can imagine. I can’t explain it. My wife ate both amuse bouche so that I would not look like an idiot at this high end joint; she said they were very good.
For our starter, we ordered a small plate of corn bread and biscuits. There were three of each and were about the size of a half-dollar. Both were slightly sweet, with subtle flavor. A good way to start a meal and the way I prefer biscuits and corn bread.
For our first course we shared an order of fried calamari. I have this thing. If I have never been to a place before and fried calamari is on the menu, I will order it. If Subway starts making a fried calamari sandwich, I will give it a shot. I am on the search for the perfect fried calamari. I am not ending the search, but from this point forward I am judging all future fried calamari against that which we had at Radius 10. First of all, they used a much bigger squid that what you generally find in restaurants, making for meatier bites. Second, they were only lightly breaded and seasoned so as not to overpower the flavor of the calamari. Lastly, and always most important with fried calamari, they were not overcooked. Not a hint of rubber in any bite. In fact, they almost melted in your mouth.
For our entrees, the wife ordered filet with roasted potato wedges and a white truffle dipping sauce and I ordered a veal chop-bone in (I know) with a medley of roasted potatoes and sauteed asparagus all in a light balsamicy sauce/au jus. The filet was good, though I am generally not a fan of ordering steaks when eating out because I feel that if I can get a high enough quality of meat, I can season it/grill it up as well as most restaurants. The white truffle dipping sauce for the wedges was quite good. My veal was very good (though I have decided on the ‘best meats scale’ veal is still definitely behind a good steak and duck and probably a couple of other things I have yet to try and is about even with a really nice pork loin). It had a nice balance of fat and protein and was clearly well prepared. The potatoes and asparagus were fine, but a bit overpowered by all the garlic mixed in with the balsamic.
The disappointment of the night came with dessert. I love desserts. I used to run a full-scale bakery and am probably a bit snobby about these things, but I found it difficult to figure out how anyone could have liked my dessert (my wife tried this dessert ‘french toast’ that had a sweet pastery base, with bananas and ice cream and it was decent–certainly better than mine–but nothing special). I forget its clever name, but it was basically a cookie/brownie bar with a liquid middle and some ice cream on top. The ice cream was fair, but everything else was so ridiculously sweet–and I have a sweet tooth–and bathed in cinnamon that it was all too overbearing, and I was unable to even finish half of it. Luckily, there was a finishing amuse bouche of white chocolate mousse with a blueberry on top that left us satisfied. And at this point completely stuffed. There would be no honkytonks for us on this night.
Overall, the meal was very good with the dessert serving as the only blemish. The staff was excellent and the setting was cool-a bit pretentious, but that comes with the fine dining territory, and since no one in Nashville dresses up, it all gets evened out. It was maybe a little overpriced ($145 plus tip) for the quality, but that may just be because we don’t have a ton of money. If you find yourself in Nashville, and can afford it, I would recommend Radius 10.