Had a good trip to Nashville this week. My wife and I took my folks to the airport, and used it as an excuse for an overnight visit. I wanted to try two new (to us) places.
Wed. Night: Tried the happy hour at Atlantis. Loved it. Arrived at 4:15 PM and stayed til 8 PM. Food and numerous beverages at half price in the bar for these hours.
Bartender/server was friendly, prompt, and helpful. When I asked about several ingredients, he went to the kitchen to get the answers. In fact, he brought the chief/owner out to meet us. The chief was also a most interesting and friendly person.
Bar traffic was light until about 5:30, then moderate until about 6:30, then quite heavy.
Had the following items, in order of positive reaction:
Steamed Prince Edward Island Mussels, in a saffron and curry sauce. Outstanding (I had a second order). Very delicate taste to the mussels, less strong than the ones we use to have in Baltimore. The sauce was a bit heavy for bread dipping, but I wouldn't change a thing.
Spicy Thai Spring Roll w/raw tuna: Our second favorite. We were surprised by the preparation. It was not fried, but rather wrapped in leafy vegetables. I also had a second order of this dish.
Steamed Shrimp Dumplings: Not normally a high ranking dish for me. These were quite good. I found the shrimp just so-so in taste, though they were of a nice size. However, the dumplings were wonderfully flavored and melted in my mouth.
Fried Crab Claws: Interesting but not outstanding. Not as much crab flavor as expected. On the plus side, the texture and taste were light, with no "fried" taste.
Fried Osyters with a a spicy red curry sauce: Not very happy with this dish. We both love oysters, and could not really taste them beneath the batter and sauce.
Dessert (Not on the happy hour menu): We chose the carmel coconut (torte?). I was concerned that it would be too rich. Wrong! It was outstanding. Rich but ever so tasty. The chief came out to explain the ingredients and texture.
We will definitely go back. Next time we will try the full restaurant.
Thursday: We had lunch at Wilma Kaye's Cajun Kitchen. Now, we are originally from Louisiana, and go home at least once a year. In addition, we make a mean gumbo. Therefore, I consider us to be pretty good judges of cajun food.
Our food was excellent. We had crawfish etoufee and oyster po boys, as well as a peach and an apple fried pie.
Actually, I was disappointed when I first looked at the menu. I went for the cajun fried pies. The pie on Thursday was steak. I had expected/hoped for seafood.
Didn't matter: The po boy was of Louisiana quality--fresh tasting osyters and filling. The bread does appear to be a bit softer than usual. Perhaps that is due to the owner/cook's southwest Louisiana heritage rather than southeast. Or it may just be his personal preference.
We enjoyed the etoufee, even though it was different from what we usually have. We generally prefer a more brown base. This was more tomato. But, it was very, very good--fresh ingredients with plenty of crawfish.
I almost didn't order the fried pies. My mother makes wonderful fried pies. These were different, and just as good (sorry mom). They had a most interesting contrast of hot pastry and cooler fruit. We did not order ice cream with the pies, as we ate them on the street walking back to our car.
We arrived at 11 AM. The small eating area (I think four tables with four tables) became crowded 11:30.
Definitely a keeper. Friendly people, good food, and quite reasonable in price. Good cajun food is difficult to find outside of Louisiana. A number of places seem to think that you simply cover the food with red pepper or hot sauce.
Wilma Kaye's place is for real.