It's been a couple years since we've made the hop up to Germantown, just outside of downtown Nashville. A lot has changed. New condos. New businesses. And most importantly for this guy, new restaurants.
The Optimist came highly recommend by our two eating companions (We'll keep them incognito for now. Maybe in future editions they'll let me call them by name.). Being foodies like myself and my wife, Katie, I was pretty sure this would be a hit meal.
Bingo. Our nameless friends were right.
The Optimist brought happy tingles to my taste buds and satisfied rumbles to the belly.
Let's start with the bread. Oh the bread. The rolls they served as a welcome home were sitting in a pool of glorious melted butter. Next time I may find out how to make a whole meal out of just bread, but that'll be on a cheat day. Too good.
With the rolls came two starters. My favorite were the heirloom tomatoes topped with whipped parmesan (yeah, whipped), basil and tiny garlic chips. Too bad I had dinner mates because that would've been all mine.
Next, more starters. Tops on the list for me was the GULF SHRIMP A LA PLANCHA with scampi butter, and “sopping toast.” Let me say that again: SOPPING TOAST. Hands down the best thing I ate all night. So good I'll say it one more time: SOPPING TOAST. Eat it. Love it. Eat it again.
Sadly, the picture of said SOPPING TOAST did not make it because the dish was eaten too fast. My bad.
Next up: main dishes with sides. Big surprises for me were the CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS with potato gnocchi, swiss chard, pearl onions and the BABY SWEET POTATOES seasoned with salsa macha and lime crema. I eat plenty of chicken at home so chicken was not high on my list for a rare dinner out. This chicken and it's savory dumplings did not disappoint. Crispy skin topped the cake and, like every thing else, the cook was perfect and the seasoning spot on.
But, the most surprising dish for me was the baby sweet potatoes. I am not a sweet potato guy. My grandparents used to make me eat them at Thanksgiving and I've developed sort of an aversion to the mashed things. The Optimist's sweet potatoes, however, were like savory marshmallows and that had me elbowing my wife out of the way. So good. I want more. Now.
The stand outs for me on the dessert menu were the CHOCOLATE PUDDING CAKE and SALTED CARAMEL ICE CREAM. I did not share much of the sopping-with-chocolate cake. Sorry, friends.
To summarize, I am not a fancy food critic. I won't compare shrimp to a French champagne or a leek to a South African pear. But I will tell you that the service, ambiance and food at The Optimist was fantastic and well worth a return trip or three. Two big thumbs up.
Just remember two words, my friends: SOPPING TOAST.
Enough said. I'm hungry. . .
THE OPTIMIST — NASHVILLE
1400 Adams Street
Nashville, Tennessee 37208