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Like everyone else, we are slowly ticking through the list of new restaurants in Nashville that we’re dying to try. In an attempt to experience them all, we’re eating out just about every other night, but we can’t even get to the bottom of the list before adding more. But in the past month, we have check off three recently opened restaurants from our list — answer., GReKo Street Food and Pastaria, all of which are worthy of a return visit. Impressed by the food, atmosphere and overall experience, we are excited to share our first impressions of these three eateries.

answer.

132 46th Ave. N., Nashville, TN 37209 • (615) 942-0866
Hours: Dinner — Tuesday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Brunch — Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Happy Hour — Thursday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Our true first impression of this Sylvan Park eatery came during a visit for happy hour, when drinks (and blistered shishito peppers) were enjoyed at the bar. Thanks to the stylish atmosphere and enticing menu, we made plans to return. Our first meal at the restaurant was enjoyed during Sunday brunch. Families, couples and girlfriends gathered around tables that frame the room, a rectangular wrap-around bar and patio seating to indulge in the mid-morning offerings. The restaurant was designed to serve dishes with “flavors from here and there,” and brunch is no exception. Chris Raucci, owner and executive chef, created a brunch menu of 13 dishes, a few of which you will also find on the dinner menu. The crossovers include a bibb salad, mushrooms cooked with fontina and leeks, jumbo lump crab served atop toast, mussels steamed with ginger and beer, and a burger with bacon. Trying three out of the five, we believe we got a good taste of everything the restaurant has to offer – from morning to night. And let’s just say, we left happy.

In addition to the all-day savory items, you will find sweetness in panna cotta yogurt and French toast on the brunch menu. Those who prefer egg-centric dishes will be thrilled to discover scrambled eggs with chorizo, eggs baked in tomato sauce, a grits bowl with poached eggs and a breakfast sandwich.

With Chef Raucci and Owner/General Manager Victoria Rothberg at the helm, this neighborhood restaurant is quite popular. With seating for roughly 125 patrons, answer. welcomes folks of all ages. The regulars typically stroll to the restaurant from their homes in Sylvan Park, but it is no surprise to find people driving from across town to dine there.

Now that we have checked happy hour and brunch off our list, we are ready to return for dinner.

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The burger, topped with bacon, American cheese, b&b pickles, arugula, sauce and kennebec, is found on the dinner and brunch menus. The bacon makes this burger a stand-out.

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We opted for the crab on bibb lettuce instead of the typical toast. Mixed with avocado and lime, the crab is a creamy, flavorful dish that we would order again. The mushrooms were a hit as well!

GReKo Street Food

704 Main St., Nashville, TN 37206 • (615) 203-0251
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Since we live in the Athens of the South, it seems only fair that we have the opportunity to experience authentic Greek food. Although not exactly in close proximity to the Parthenon, GReKo Street Food serves up all things Greek. Taking a note from Yia-Yia’s cookbook, the Darsinos bring the rich culture of Greece to Nashville. They first got their start in the restaurant business when Angelo Darsinos and his brother Spiros opened Gondola House Pizzeria in Clarksville in 1970. Almost 50 years later, they made the move from Italian to Greek.

Once inside the 114-seat restaurant, you will quickly be transported to the streets of Greece (kind of). Meat being cooked over a live wood fire and freshly baked pita create smells that one can only imagine are found Greece. The graffiti and street art that don the walls also help set the stage.

Step up to the counter and order from a menu of starters, pitas, souvlaki, off-the-fire chicken or lamb, and soups and salads. With fries, horiatiki, horta greens, tzatziki and tirokafteri, you can’t go wrong with the “for the table” options. As far as your main meal, we’ll let you decide between meat served in a pita or on a stick. In our party of three, we opted for a chicken pita and two orders of the grilled octopus souvlaki. In the pita, Athenian chicken was paired with tomato, red onion, paprika and tzatziki sauce. We can only guess that the pork, Korinthian lamb and beef are just as delicious when served in a pita. When it came to the souvlaki, a classic street food found in Greece, there was no competition between the grilled octopus and the pork and beef. It was the prospect of octopus souvlaki that had us eager to try this eatery in the first place.

Each dish comes with the option of fries, horta greens, horiatiki (village salad) or a small salad. Of course, the choice is yours, but let it be known that you’d be remiss not to order the fries.

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Choose pork, lamb, chicken, beef or grilled veggies to fill your pita. We chose chicken.

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The octopus was a crowd-pleaser. We can’t wait to go back and enjoy it again.

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The hand-cut fries are topped with oregano and mizithra cheese — YUM!

Pastaria

8 City Blvd., Nashville, TN 37209 • (615) 915-1866
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Rumblings of the St. Louis eatery opening in Music City had been circulating for quite some time. Our excitement built, and during opening night, our every expectation was met. Chef/owner (and 2015 James Beard Award Winner) Gerard Craft of Niche Food Group opened this casual Italian concept in Nashville’s ONEC1TY development. The bright, open interior offers seating for roughly 100 guests, with an additional 50 seats in the bar and 30-40 seats on the outdoor terrace. Diners in the main dining room have a clear view of chefs preparing handmade pasta dishes and tossing pizzas before putting them into the authentic Acunto Napoli wood-burning oven.

Our evening started with crispy risotto balls, a kale salad and spicy cauliflower. A margherita pizza was shared among the group, but the pasta stole the show. We tried four of the 12 pastas, including the bucatini all’amatriciana, Canestri Cacio e Pepe, pappardelle and Pici all’ Puttanesca. Had we not been in public, every plate would have been licked clean. A personal favorite was the Canestri Cacio e Pepe, which we tried with the canestri noodle and a gluten-free noodle. The peppery, cheesy blend is one that is common in Italian cooking. An approachable, simple dish, the combination still packs enough punch to create a decadent meal.

After choosing from the menu of appetizers, salads, 12 organic pastas, 11 Neapolitan-style pizzas (including a pizza of the day) and wood-oven entrées, try something sweet. The gelato offerings range from coffee cookies ‘n cream and burnt toast to dark chocolate and concord grape.

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While this may look like a large portion of pasta, we assure you that you can clean the plate in one sitting.

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The bucatini all’amatriciana has a welcomed hint of spice in the sauce.

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Two-top and four-top tables fill the open space.

If you haven’t already, check these three places off your must-try list!

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