Last night, I went to an hysterical viewing of 1998’s failed attempt at “Godzilla” with Matthew Broderick in Nashville, Tennessee. The movie made hysterical by the gentlemen of Rifftrax who made merry and mirth at the movie’s multitude of sins. Lack of plot, notwithstanding.
Before the movie, we were going to dine somewhere near the Belacourt Theater in the West End, no where of note really, until a local establishment came up in conversation and to Etch we went.
Etch is Chef Deb Paquette’s newest eclectic dining experience–industrial, open kitchen atmosphere. Simple art and concrete pillars decorate the place because it’s not about the decor. The food–playful, yet simple. Attention to detail, texture and taste make Etch a standout from the rest of the barbecue joints, honky tonks, chains and places that feed the masses. Etch feeds the foodie’s crave for taste and pleasure on the palate. The food feeds more than the stomach, Chef Deb feeds a foodie’s senses.
Entrees looked well crafted and created but the appetizers made my meal. We tasted a little and a lot of everything Etch offered on it’s menu:
1st Plate: Butter. Fresh, flavored BUTTER. prosciutto truffle, smoked parmesan black pepper, ginger cashew, \malt vinegar. Spread on fresh bread and wonder if I need anything else in the world but prosciutto truffle butter?
2nd Plate: Pork Belly. Fried. With 3 sauces and kimchi. When rolling the pork belly in the tahini tofu and adding kimchi–the textures and acid bite of the kimchi with the butteryness of the pork belly–all the richness of the fat came together into a perfect bite. Faintly reminisce of old Korean barbecue restaurants in New York with richer ingredients. The blueberry squish in the bite added a sweetness that brought out the acid of the kimchi.
Plate 3: Roasted Cauliflower with truffle pea pesto and a whole almond bite. Combining those flavors in a forkful just made the roast cauliflower more crunchy and lively.
Plate 4: Octopus and Shrimp Bruschetta with arugula, manchengo and bacon. I love octopus. LOVE IT. Pairing it with bacon? I wasn’t sure at first until I tasted that first briny/salty bite. Next bite of roasted tomato, shrimp and manchengo brought Spain back to me–the sheep’s milk cheese from La Mancha, the salty sea air of Sitges. I ate a bite of Spain and it tasted delicious.
Plate 5: Charcuterie Salad with Tennessee prosciutto and Etch smoked sausages with smoked-SMOKED!-lima beans with pickled onions and apples and more. I wrapped the prosciutto around a bite of apple with the dijon vinaigrette and the salty sweet acid just burst onto the back of my tongue. I took a sip of the 2013 NZ Sauvignon Blanc and all the fruit-salt-acid just became a taste of farm earth. Add the fried oyster mushroom with the Etch smoked sausage and dijon and it was another perfect bite of loamy richness of farm and forest.
Plate 6: Lamb Tartare with mint, cilantro, harissa paste, zucchini, tempura eggplant that reminded me so much of Morocco. The buttery rich lamb just melted into the harissa, mint, cilantro paste I made. The bite of herbed feta with the lamb melded beautifully into a fresh, sweet, spicy rich taste of the souk in Marrakech.
Plates 7 & 8: Rutabaga and Charred Brussel Sprouts: Both veg really made the end of the meal–the slight char of the brussel sprouts with carmelized onions. The rutabaga reminded me of good portabello without the fungi funk they often have when not seared well. The cauliflower/avocado smash on top with the flash charred okra became a veggie sandwich by itself.
In summary, Etch and Chef Deb Paquette fed my foodie travel soul and I thank her for sharing her craft.