A recent trip to Music City gave me a chance to try Monells (1235 6th Avenue North, Nashville, 615-248-4747), and I loved it.
This is straight-out Southern food, served family-style: on the day I went, lunch included fluffy biscuits (foolishly I didnt sample the fig preserves...what came over me?), cucumber salad, beet salad, squash casserole (no cheese, no cracker crumbs but still summery good), corn pudding, Salisbury steak, chicken wings in a tangy red sauce, collard greens, and some potatoes cooked in a delicious sauce that Im guessing contained both cheese and bacon. For dessert, banana pudding. I wasnt paying that much attention to the drinks other than the sweet and unsweet tea, which were right there on the table in pitchers.
The salads & the meats were fine & tasty, but the other vegetable dishes really rocked. This is the kind of Southern food that makes an expatriate long for home. Everything tasted fresh; this doesnt seem to be the Southern school of cooking where the pot sits on the stove for, you know, 38 hours or so at a stretch.
Monells is in a funky old house, furnished with antiques bought at auction. Its in the old Germantown area of Nashville, close (a short drive) to downtown, state government offices, and Meharry Medical College.
Lunch is a flat price at $9, well worth it, especially considering how much I ate.
Visits to Rotiers (for a cheeseburger on French bread) and the Elliston Place Soda Shoppe (for breakfast) gave me a chance to revisit old standbys, but next time I visit Nashville, Monells will be the first place I head to. After all, I missed fried-chicken day (Friday); I have a feeling its good.