Monday, January 19, 2009
In the Great Nashville Meat-N-Three Debate, Arnold's and Swett's get the most attention. That's unfortunate because neither of those restaurants serve the best country cookin' in Nashville.
Arnold's food is overrated, the portions ain't as big as they used to be, and Arnold is one surly SOB. (I once swore I'd never eat at Arnold's again after Arnold refused to honor a coupon he said was "expired," but which had no expiration date. A friend treated me to lunch there a few months later, and I nearly choked to death on a piece of dry-as-hell roast beef. I swore again that I'd never go back. And I ain't been back, neither.) As for Swett's ... it's pretty good, but every thing there is way too salty. If you have high blood pressure, you'll probably want to stay away from the place.
Now, if you want to eat food that tastes like it came out of your grandmother's kitchen, go to Dandgure's Cafeteria, aka Dan's Cafe, on Lafayette Street. Not only will the food make your knees buckle, if you happen to be standing up whilst eating, Dan is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet.
I remember the very first time I ever went to Dan's. I was in college and working part-time at a trucking company on Murfreesboro Road. I went in early one day to help the president of the prepare for an important meeting. In appreciation he told me that he'd treat me to lunch. Dan's parking lot was full, so we had to park down the street a bit. Then we proceeded to walk in a side door and through the kitchen to the dining room. I'll never forget that.
10+ years and probably a hundred Dan's meals later, I'm still as impressed with the place as I was the first time I ate there. First of all, Dan's serves the best turnip greens in Nashville. Period. Furthermore, Dan's serves the best country-style pork ribs I have ever eaten, ... and I've had country ribs in at least a dozen different restaurants from Memphis to Knoxville.
As for the rest of Dan's grub, it's all out-of-this-world as well. I don't know it for a fact, but I suspect that Dan's fried chicken gets double-dusted in well seasoned flour. The macaroni and cheese is very, very creamy, and if you get there early enough you might just get some of the baked cheese from the top of the pan. And that's not all, Dan's fried pork chops are almost - almost - as good as my Granny Ruby's fried pork chops (and I'll admit they're better than my fried pork chops). Finally, I don't usually eat deserts, but I always get me a piece of chess pie when I go to Dan's -- if there's any left.
With all that said I have a final anecdote to share 'bout Dan's. A visit to Dan's with a former lady friend back in the day was the inspiration for the title of this blog, if not the blog itself. Keep that it mind 'cause I'm going to talk about it real soon. And get thee to Dan's real soon for some of the best food you'll ever put in your mouth. Tell Dan Joltin' Django sent you.
538 Lafayette Street