Today Fred and I had a Labor Day lunch at blvd, Arnold Myint’s neighborhood restaurant on Belmont Boulevard. The meal I had was an explosion of perfection–some of my very favorite things all in one meal–pimento cheese, watermelon, street corn, and yes, a Mexican Coke! How could I ask for more? Easy…I took a piece of apple pie home for dessert later. (That pie is the best apple pie ever, and I consider myself an expert on apple pie.)
Arnold has been quite busy lately. He did extremely well on the recent series of Food Network Star and always has several projects in the works. When he came back from Los Angeles a few days ago he literally hit the ground running. He has been working on the menu and in the kitchen at blvd and the results are pretty swell. In fact, the food there has never been better. I am really enjoying the changes. There are plenty of options for a vegan/vegetarian and the carnivores will also be very well-fed. There are choices for happy hour snacks (2 for $8), Sunday brunch, lunch, and dinner. Each occasion has its own menu. I can’t possibly mention everything, but I will tell you about some the things I have tried. There is a green bean and pine nut salad that I have had twice. It is very generous, and very delicious balanced meal. There is an entree that is pure poetry; he calls it a “charred cabbage steak.” Even if you aren’t a vegetarian, you should give this one a try. And the other entrees go all the way from shrimp and grits to a New York strip steak. With many (well portioned) small plates—do not, I repeat, do not, miss the okra fries, decadence worth every fat gram—to choose from along with salads, and sides, you can put together a table top feast. All the prices are reasonable, and the servings are not stingy. This is not one of those places where you drop a small fortune and leave hungry.
There are some wonderful Sunday brunch options, too. I really wouldn’t miss anything that has to do with biscuits. Fred and I had a brief visit with Arnold yesterday (probably one of the few times he has sat down since being back in Nashville) and he talked about making biscuits. It was a very sensuous conversation. I woke up this morning and started thinking about those biscuits. He is perhaps the only person I have ever known who could describe making biscuits in such a way that makes you just want to roll up your sleeves, get your hands in the dough and the biscuits in your mouth. But, I think I’ll just skip the rolling up the sleeves, hands in the dough part and let Arnold do the cooking.
If you are in the mood for a drink, blvd is your bar. The cocktail menu is remarkable. I am partial to the Pinky Lee, a pink grapefruit nectar that can be done with vodka, gin, or tequila. (Of course, I have only tried it with tequila.) There is a rim on the glass with kaffir salt and sugar. It is a perfect balance of sweet and salty. The wine list is mostly French, and pretty extensive for an unpretentious neighborhood bistro. There is also a wide variety of beers, and some interesting non-alcoholic drinks as well. I could forgo my afternoon cocktail easily for one of those Sprecher’s sodas–I haven’t tried them all because I can’t get past the ginger ale. And speaking of French—the fries here are simply the best in town. There is a variety, and they will all make you happy. One more thought; while you’re there you just might want to do some shopping. There are some fun food products for sale, especially Arnold’s Smoked Salt, Smoked Vinegar, and Herbs de Provence.
The restaurant at 2013 Belmont Blvd is becoming my go-to place. If it’s been a while since you’ve been there, or if you’ve never tried it, you really need to check it out. Open every day from 11 am until 11 pm, with Sunday brunch served 11-5. And, note, there are half-priced bottles of wine on Sundays. Reservations are first come, first served. You might decide you’d like to sit outdoors and watch the world go by on Belmont Blvd. And don’t worry about parking because there is a valet.