Authenticity is the focus at this Middle Eastern restaurant, which was named Best Persian Food in Nashville Scene's Best of Nashville 2011. Owner and Iraq native Hikmat Gazi adorns the space with traditional decor, from the deep-red color of the walls to glass boxes displaying traditional Kurdish clothing. Diners looking for the full experience can sit on a cushion on the floor and dine on a traditional, low table. Then, of course, there is the food itself, from the titular shish kabob to lamb shanks seared and flavored with regional-specialty spices.
Nashville Scene also chronicles Hikmat’s absorbing journey from an adolescence spent in a Turkish refugee camp during the Gulf War to his triplicate success in the restaurant business. After working with the U.S. military in Iraq, Hikmat returned stateside to continue serving savory Middle Eastern fare at the original Nolensville Rd. location, and has recently opened a new downtown location.
The creations at BBQ Beach leave palates awash with tropical-inspired flavors such as mango, banana, and pineapple—and that’s just from the drink list. As the blender churns out peach-cobbler coladas and pear margaritas, bartenders serve their infused-craft-bottled-beers with flavors like banana nut and tangerine. To anchor their libations, patrons dive into dishes full of complex combinations, such as the citrus-grilled mahi-mahi served atop a sweet tamale corn cake, crested with a splash of lime and sliced avocado. The menu also includes the Man Overboard burger, a towering swell of beef, pulled pork, hickory bacon, shaved ham, and a fried egg that doubles as a flotation device.
Outside, the patio large flat-screen TVs and comfy couches entice visitors to gather around the bar or fire pit framed with slabs of square stone.
The owners of Myridia designed their lounge-like eatery to be a place where guests can spend an entire evening and feel as though they've visited multiple venues. The menu covers flavors from several international cuisines—Middle Eastern and Japanese, to name a few—that arrive at tables as appetizers, salads, paninis, and Asian bowls. That worldly approach is also reflected by the drink menu, crowned by wines sourced from regions such as South Africa, Spain, and California. The lounge-like atmosphere keeps patrons relaxing on plush seats while they enjoy themed nightly music events that may range from an '80s night to an evening of songs from local singers and songwriters.
Amid exposed brick, rich mahogany wood, and sports-filled TVs, Benchmark’s kitchen serves pub fare with a touch of upscale flair. The new menu begins with nibbles such as pickle chips or wings deep-fried and tossed with housemade Jack Daniels barbecue sauce and expands to the Cajun-seasoned burger accented with blue cheese and caramelized onions. Patrons can wash down bites with a local brew or a cocktail, such as the Nashville Bushwacker, a popular milk-shake-esque alcholic drink, or serve themselves from a personal table tap. At night, the bar’s first floor hosts live music acts, and its second floor pounds with the latest hits and lullabies selected by the DJ.
Being branded ?Roseanne Barr meets Jack Black? might be considered a slight to some, but Hick Chick Tours? guide Christy Eidson wears it as a badge of honor. The standup comedienne keeps her pub crawls, brewery tours, and bus tours light and irreverent with tongue-in-cheek asides. But since she?s a Tennessee native, there?s are also plenty of interesting historical information woven into her sassy narratives.
Dotted with touches of contemporary cuisine and Southern inspiration, the menu of Aura Restaurant. Bar. Lounge draws on the best of both. Designed by managing partner and executive chef Mathew Igwonobe, with help Patrick Swett of the Swett's family of restaurants, the cuisine includes unique highlights such as lobster grilled cheese and crawfish potato skins.