For a holiday treat, the three SB full-timers, Liza Graves, Elizabeth Fox and Amy Norton, had dinner at Rolf and Daughters with our husbands. We had heard great things and needed to check it out, pronto. Each of us is chiming in today on what we thought.
If you have not been into Germantown in the past year, it’s booming. Located in the 100 year old and newly revitalized Werthan Factory, Rolf and Daughters is a perfect addition to this neighborhood and to the landscape of evolving dining choices in Nashville. James Beard-nominated Philip Krajeck is the owner/chef. His middle name is Rolf, and yes, he has two daughters. For more information on Krajeck, check out this article in the Nashville Scene.
Liza: I met up with my husband there an hour before anyone else arrived. 6 p.m. on a Thursday proved to be the perfect time to easily find a seat at the bar. It was quiet and the bartender was attentive, and we soaked up the atmosphere. By 7 p.m., though, this place was packed. To sit at the bar with a cocktail and appetizer (each which elevated our expectations for dinner, they were so tasty) and watch the restaurant fill up while reconnecting with my husband was a complete treat. Plus, getting there early made for easy parking, and with no valet, that was nice. This was hands down one of the best meals I’ve had in Nashville.
Note: all these photos were taken on Liza’s iPhone and the lights were dim. So, sorry these aren’t the best of photos.
You will quickly discover what Rolf and Daughters does impeccably well: this place serves up fresh, local, amazing food in a modern rustic environment. From their website, “Our food draws on Northern Italian and Mediterranean influences with Southern ingredients to create a dynamic and seasonally driven menu.”
Our appetizers. There is no way to pick a favorite. Really, grab 6-8 people and just start ordering and sharing:
Amy: I rarely meet a pate I don’t like, and Rolf and Daughters’ version was perfect – flavorful, dense and delicious on the grilled bread with a dollop of grainy mustard. Yum! (Extra points for the wooden plank used for serving, too.)
Brussels sprouts are one of my favorite veggies, and since my entire family finds them revolting, I don’t miss an opportunity to enjoy them when I see them on the menu. Rolf and Daughters’ were sublime, especially with the unexpected hazelnuts and apples.
Unexpected combinations ruled the evening, which is, in part, why I also enjoyed dinner here as much as any restaurant I’ve been to in a long while. The spaghetti squash is another great example of this – the pancetta baked on top added a great smoky, salty counterpoint to the earthy squash. (This, I actually think my family would enjoy…)
Elizabeth: I like to order lots of sides when I go to a new restaurant. Usually, and Rolf and Daughter did not disappoint, it gives me a good idea of the chef’s talents. Admittedly, and maybe it’s a Southern thing, veggies are something we really care about when it comes to the preparation.
The collard greens and polenta below were simply marvelous. The creamy texture of the polenta offset the bitterness of the collard greens. This side is a must order at R and D.
Liza: As we were finishing our appetizers, we ran into two StyleBlueprint friends: Kay West and Erin Murray.
All six of us were happy with our dinners, the appetizers, the cocktails… seriously, the whole thing was just what we want every meal in Nashville to be: one that you yearn to repeat the moment it is over. The only complaint we could register is one that will make us seem old: we’d rather not fight the music for our conversation. Just a couple notches lower for the music, s’il vous plaît.
Amy: Several of us ordered the brook trout, and we were all equally astonished by the lightness of the crème fraiche broth – it was flavorful and fragrant and wonderful with the trout. Another A+.
My husband and I have an agreement when we go out to eat: I pick my favorite two things on the menu and we each order one. (Yes, I realize this is not very democratic, but Will learned a loooong time ago, if mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy. I usually have a hard time choosing an entree because I like almost everything. This is how we keep the peace. Thankfully, he’s not terribly picky, except when it comes to small cabbage-like vegetables.) All that to say, on this particular night, I let (aren’t I magnanimous) him choose. And A++ for Will: the pork was unbelievably succulent, and the apples and kraut great accompaniments!
Amy: The panna cotta was by far my favorite of the desserts we ordered. A delicate, sweet note that didn’t overwhelm my palate.
Liza: This place is trendy, but a nice mix of ages was represented. And, we saw an equal amount of “boys’ night” and “girls’ night” outs going on. We all appreciated not being rushed from our table (hello, neighboring restaurant down the street who needs to figure out this part ASAP…) and the attentive, but not overbearing service we received.
For more information of Rolf and Daughters, click here.