Beard at the Boathouse
at Fin & Pearl
Last month, Fin & Pearl hosted a sold-out dinner, "Ode to the Sea," at the James Beard House in NYC. The evening featured an al fresco cocktail reception with
When chef Roderick Bailey abruptly shuttered his popular eatery, The Silly Goose, last fall, fans of the primarily vegetarian restaurant feared that their dining options had been severely limited. They needn’t have worried, as John and Melanie Cochran, owners of The Wild Cow around the corner, quickly stepped in to take over the property. Along with chef Nick Davis, they began to plan a new plant-based dining destination: Graze Nashville.
The dining space is still spartan, primarily a concrete room painted in pale hues with fabric panels hanging from the ceiling to absorb the appropriately vibrant din of happy diners. The lovely, rough-hewn slab of wood that makes up the chef’s bar is the best spot for smaller parties or singletons, who get a view of the bustling kitchen staff.
The menu at Graze Nashville is tightly focused, with five to six options in each of three main sections: breakfast, small plates and snacks, and entreés. The morning meal starts at 8 and is served all day; the rest of the menu is available at 11 a.m.
Breakfast options—like a burrito stuffed with seitan chorizo, roasted potatoes, vegan cheddar, quinoa, and spinach or a healthy chia parfait made with house granola, fresh fruit, chia pudding, and hemp hearts—are already popular items. There are also fresh-squeezed juices and inventive smoothies with clever names, like “vegasaurus” and “fern gully.” To be enjoyed later in the day, there’s a selection of local and regional beers and a short list of cocktails.
For a quick snack, try the special house nut mixes, including beer nuts, curry lime cashews, or smoked pistachios. More substantial is Graze’s cast-iron cornbread dish, topped with vegan cheddar cheese and either jalapeño or cranberry jam.
Rather than using meat to provide the flavor for main dishes, the kitchen here layers bold flavors and contrasting textures. The citrus Caesar is a nontraditional version of the classic romaine bowl, featuring wilted kale with sun-dried tomatoes, carrots, cashew-parmesan, lemon-zest Caesar dressing, and pine nuts. The kitchen offers homage to the previous tenant with their “Goose’s couscous,” a bowl of steamed semolina with seared pistachios, golden raisins, toasted almonds, shaved fennel, cauliflower, oyster mushrooms, balsamic reduction, and arugula.
There’s even a nod to the current local culinary obsession, in the form of Nashville hot tempeh with a cast iron-cooked soy patty, flavored with hot chicken spices and coconut oil. Will it fool hardcore hot chicken aficianados? Probably not, but that’s not the point. At Graze, the thoughtfully planned plant-based menu is meant to appeal to all sorts of diners.
1888 Eastland Ave., 615-686-1060; grazenashville.com