I went to Germantown Cafe during Nashville Originals Restaurant Week. During Restaurant Week, Nashville Originals member restaurants offer specially priced prix fixe menus and, typically, specialty menu items. Germantown Cafe (and Allium for that matter) simply offered their regular menus at a fixed price that included a salad, entree, and dessert.
I began my meal with the house salad topped with either Raspberry or Balsamic Vinaigrette, I can’t recall. I should really start carrying a notepad. Anyway, I do remember that the salad was pretty good as far as house salads go. It was just greens, red cabbage, and carrots, but the dressing was really tasty and everything tasted really fresh. I also had the house Pinot Grigio which I liked, but I’m no wine expert so who knows. I liked it and that’s what counts, right? Also, they brought out a bread dish but the bread wasn’t vegan so I didn’t get to partake.
For my entree I ordered the Green Plate, veganized. Normally, everything on this plate is coated in a fine layer of butter. Gross, right? So, that was nixed. Next, they subbed out the Butternut Squash Gratin for brown rice–downgrade. So what was on my green plate, you ask? Garlic-marinated portobello mushroom, steamed spinach, steamed asparagus, brown rice, and that little side dish of sauce. The spinach was bland, period. It seemed that it was completely unseasoned. I absolutely love asparagus so I was pleased, but at the same time it could have been seasoned in some way, or at least roasted to bring out the flavors. The rice (which you can’t see because it’s underneath the asparagus) tasted like rice–also unseasoned. The mushroom was AMAZING. Seriously, I ate every last bite. It was so very very delicious. The texture and flavor were perfect. Also, I don’t know what that little sauce was, but it really blew me away. It was kind of overwhelming on the spinach, but it really took the asparagus and mushroom to the next level. I want to have a bottle of it in my fridge at all times.
For dessert I had … this bowl of fruit. Not that there’s anything wrong with a bowl of fruit. The fruit was good and all. And it’s not like I was expecting this restaurant to have some kind of phenomenal vegan dessert, especially since I didn’t request one in advance. It’s just, you know, fruit.
The verdict? I don’t know that I will be back at Germantown Cafe unless their menu changes. My salad was good but standard. My green plate was mostly flavorless except for the mushroom cap and sauce, and the substitute of plain brown rice for butternut squash was kind of a disappointment. My dessert was fruit. Worst of all, I was still kind of hungry when I was done with all this food. There was no solid protein source in the meal. Germantown Cafe has a really creative menu, and my dining companion was thrilled with an order of New Orleans Shrimp. The restaurant has a lot of vegan potential, it just needs to be more fully realized–the chefs are clearly skilled. Also, I don’t think I saved any money by going during Restaurant Week–I think I would have actually spent less if I ordered my items a la carte.
The best thing about Germantown Cafe was not my food but the decor, view, and ambiance. The place is really beautifully designed, and we got a table by the window with a fantastic view of the downtown skyline. It really is a good date spot. Just don’t expect your dish to wow you.
1200 Fifth Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37208