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Sylvan Parks' answer

Sylvan Park’s newest neighborhood restaurant is providing the answers.

Written By:  Nancy Vienneau

Photographers:  Supplied

Long accomplished in corporate restaurant settings, general manager Victoria Rothberg and executive chef Chris Raucci shared a dream of opening a place of their own. That quest took them well outside of their homebase of Atlanta. When they explored Nashville, they became enchanted by the hospitable vibe. When they happened upon Sylvan Park, they found both the location and sense of community they were seeking. The chosen name, answer, doesn’t strictly invoke the daily nagging question, “What’s for dinner?” It’s as much about the partners’ discovery as it is about making connections and engaging in conversation over a shared meal.

Three years in the making, answer has found its niche in the neighborhood, providing a savvy gathering place for food and drink. An open kitchen, a central U-shaped bar, cozy booths, and two-top seating all contribute to its welcoming ambience. Chef Raucci’s menu offers diverse, globally inspired tastes in a balance of small plates and entrees.

“Our crab toast and arancini have quickly become our most popular dishes,” the chef notes—and with good reason. That toast is pure pleasure: Jumbo lump crabmeat, radishes, and microherbs nestle in an avocado spread over spelt-grain bread, all spritzed with lime. And his arancini is a clever Asian-Italian mashup, using sushi rice as a base, mixed with rich pork, shrimp, cilantro, and sambal spice.

Housemade pastas are crowd-pleasers, too. We can’t resist the lamb-pork ragu over bucatini, its combination of toasted breadcrumbs and pecorino providing the right crunch and piquancy. As Nashville is still becoming acquainted with answer, Raucci doesn’t plan to alter the opening menu too much. “We will be lightening up some existing dishes for the summer months,” he says.

In the meantime, the business partners have launched weekend brunch and expanded service to the patio. Here’s a winning combo for a breezy late Sunday morning: The Bowl, which holds grits, cheese, bacon, crimini mushrooms, leeks, and two perfectly poached eggs drizzled in bourbon demi, paired with a sparkling Strawberry Lemonade cocktail.

The reception from the community has been overwhelming, Rothberg says.

“Every service, I have guests from the neighborhood thank us for opening the restaurant. Sylvan Park is truly loyal to their businesses, and I feel that our neighbors are happy to have another option for dining out,” he adds.

132 46th Ave N, 615-942-0866; answerrestaurant.com

Photos by CK Dirks Photography.

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