Saturday, August 10, 2013

Nashville Hot Chicken Day 3: Tenn 16

Today's heat is brought to you by a restaurant that's new both to Nashville and the Nashville Hot Chicken scene. The Woodland Street digs (1016 — very clever, n'est ce pas?) have a New Orleans flair with open-window seating, Mardi Gras beads for chandeliers, and they're very, very proud of their po'boys. But that's not what induced me to sit down in the middle of East Nashville's Tomato Art Festival.

Tenderness: 10 Wow. I've had quite a lot of buttermilk-induced texture since this trek began and so far, Tenn 16 has it down.

Moisture: 8 These two, tenderness and moisture are no doubt, related. Tenn 16 had plenty, although it wasn't dripping chicken juices. An element of their coating added a little bit.

Grease: 6 But there was a little bit of that; plenty of sauce soaked into the bread below the meat.

Flavor: 8 This Nashville restaurant's hot chicken has an element I haven't tasted anywhere else (yet). Rather than rely on cayenne (although I'm sure there's some) Tenn 16 uses a ginger/white pepper combo that's distinctive without over powering the chicken itself.

Atmosphere: 10 I am a sucker for those window seats. If you are a people watcher, this is a destination spot in Nashville.

Sides: 5 The dish automatically comes with coleslaw. I didn't think to ask for something different and, as I'm not a slaw eater, can't tell you how Tenn 16's ranked.

Overall: 8

Tenn16 on Urbanspoon

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Great Nashville Hot Chicken Odyssey Day Two: Bolton's Spicy Chicken & Fish

    What price, authenticity? Bolton's Spicy Chicken & Fish has plenty to spare. The owner had an uncle who trained at Hot Chicken originator Prince's, then started his own restaurant, and passed down his recipe. That's pretty serious cred.

    East Nashville location. Check.

    Beaten up cinderblock shack with an order window. Check.

    And yet ... All the authenticity in the world isn't going to cut it with people who want an authentically great experience. Although I admit to being a hot chicken neophyte, my two previous experiences have left me cold on Boltons. Let me count the ways.

Moisture: 5 Although there was the appearance of moisture with the first couple of cuts into each piece, it dissipated fairly rapidly. 

Tenderness: 5 Nothing objectionable, just nothing remarkable.

Grease: 9 This is where the East Nashville restaurant got its highest mark.

Flavor: 6 What was noticeable was the bird pieces got most of their flavor from the coating, a thin dry mix of dredged flour & spices,
a lot of which appears to be added after it was out of the cooker. Once the heat wore off some chicken taste did come through. (This order was medium hot.)

Atmosphere: 3 Eesh. Back to the authentic thing, maybe? Some people might say I'm dissing Bolton's because unlike so many other joints that spend tens of thousands of dollars to have the appearance of a dive, Bolton's actually is a dive. Appearances are obviously not anyone's concern, but it's hard not to be concerned for one's safety when the counter person closes the darkened safety glass after taking your order. I understand, this is East Nashville, and Main Street at that, but maybe matching tables, and clean tabletops, especially,
would go a long way. I'm not sure if the surroundings are in defiance of the high score for cleanliness, or it's the other way around. 

Sides: 5 The fries were good, not great, on their own but compared to the mac & cheese, they were stellar. Of the latter, the pasta was overcooked and the cheese aspect was a peppery sauce. Not even cayenne-peppery, but pre-ground,  grocery store box-peppery. 

Overall: 5.5  If the chicken itself was fantastic, the atmosphere would be forgivable, but there's way better out there.

Bolton's Spicy Chicken & Fish on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 2, 2013

This Post Has Nothing to do with Food

      I got out to take some advance shots of upcoming arts happenings in the area. First up, Sideshow Fringe Festival. One of Nashville's two entries in the Fringe Festival world takes place this weekend at East Room, LeQuire Gallery, and Belmont's Black Box theatre. Plays, comedy, circus, puppets.

      Next up, Nashville Shakespeare Festival! Shakespeare in the Park kicks off August 15 with A Midsummer Night's Dream. I caught the rehearsal of Act I and it looks like this year's production is going to be a lot of fun.