Some days it’s all about what you know. Other days, it’s definitely WHO you know. Monday was a who you know kind of day.
I was catching up on my Google Reader, like I do every morning, and my favorite foodie, Beth Eats, was blogging about a sneak peak at a new restaurant that’s opening today, in downtown Nashville. I’m always envious of her taste testing and was living vicariously through her blog, at that very moment. The restaurant was Etch, which is located in Nashville’s Encore condo building.
Several minutes later, my phone buzzed and it was my friend Alice. “Hey — my friend Megan is the pastry chef at this new restaurant and has me on the list for a friends and family lunch today at 1 p.m. Want to be my date? It’s called Etch.”
AHHHHHHHHH! (Angels sang).
HECK YES, I said. Jenn Eats!
Etch is opening today, Wednesday, August 29 — and the servers were still working out the kinks and getting their practice on. We were invited to give constructive criticism about our meal, to help them prepare for opening day. And of course, in return, our meal was on the house. The only thing better than delicious food is free delicious food.
We got to share an appetizer and then each got an entree. We ordered the roasted cauliflower to start. I know — really. Cauliflower as an appetizer. But OMG y’all. It was amazing. It came with a feta cream sauce and a roasted, smokey pea puree for dipping. I could have licked the rest of that beautifully green pea puree off the plate. So good.
For the entree, Alice ordered the short ribs, which had the flavors of a beef stew, but was served between layers of thin pasta — so it was almost like some crazy lasagna. It was soooo good. I ordered the lamb sausage. It was served with ginger grits (I know — I know) topped with manchego cheese and a small spinach (I think) side salad that tasted smokey. How, I have no idea. But I’d eat greens all day if they taste like they were on the grill.
The ginger grits were out of this world, although they sound terrible. Ginger and grits? But yum.
And the sausage was just so deliciously delicate and very fennelly (is that a word? no.) and it melted in your mouth.
Dessert was not part of the menu — however, when you know the pastry chef, you get special treatment. Megan gave us a choice of a chocolate something or another OR a goat cheese…..
Stop. I don’t hear anything you say after goat cheese. Cheese in my dessert. YES!
So we had the Goat Cheese Semifreddo. I sort of knew what a semifreddo was from watching years of the Food Network, but just to be clear, here’s a little Wikipedia for you.
Semifreddo (pronounced [semiˈfredːo], Italian: half cold) is a class of semi-frozen desserts, typically ice-cream cakes, semi-frozen custards, and certain fruit tarts. It has the texture of frozen mousse because it is usually produced by uniting two equal parts of ice cream and whipped cream.
It was like really firm ice cream, with a hint of goat cheese taste. I love savory desserts over sweet ones, so this was perfect.
She came out to explain the dish to us and we said “is this raspberry sauce?” She said “Oh no — it’s a hibiscus sauce. I take hibiscus flower petals and combine them with a simple syrup to extract color and flavor. Then I just reduce it way down to get it all nice and thick and syrupy.”
Ah yes — I did the same thing last night.
Amazing! Megan was so good to us and we’ll definitely be back to eat her delicious desserts (and everything else on the menu) real soon! Do yourself a favor and make reservations at Etch. You can keep up with them on Facebook, here.
**Note — other than tagging along for a free meal, I was not provided anything or asked by Etch to write this review. These opinions are mine and mine alone.