Thursday, January 07, 2010

Whatta burger!

This post begins what I hope will be an ongoing feature to find, and tell AMGE readers about, the best Nashville-area burger joints . Next to quality pulled pork, there's nothing in the world I like better than a good hamburger. And every time I eat me a good one, I'm gonna tell you about it. Like this ...

To say that Rotier's Restaurant is a Nashville institution is a cliché, but it's a cliché that happens to be 100 percent true. Tucked away in a little hole in the wall near Vanderbilt University, Rotier's has gained a reputation for serving some of the best Southern-style food known to man. The greatest praise for Rotier's, however, has been reserved for its hamburgers ... specifically, its cheeseburgers on French bread.

I vividly remember the first time I ever ate at Rotier's. I was, maybe, 10-years-old at the time. I went to a Vanderbilt game with one of my classmates and his dad. When the game was over we walked over to Rotier's. When the waitress came to our table to give us menus, my friend's dad announced, "We'll have three cheeseburgers on French bread, three orders of onion rings, and three Cokes." I'll never forget that. And I'll also never forget that my Rotier's cheeseburger tasted unlike any burger I'd ever had to that point (which consisted of Shoney's and McDonald's burgers and the fried hockey pucks that my Mom, God bless her, fried whenever she needed to throw a quick dinner together).

The last time I ate at Rotier's was this past New Year's Eve. My bud Bruce and I were skunked in our attempt to eat at another burger joint about which I've heard great things, so we headed to Rotier's instead. (The closed-for-New-Year's burger joint will be revealed in a future AMGE post.) Immediately after taking a seat we were approached by a waitress -- or server, for my pro-PC readers -- with menus in hand. But we didn't need no menus. Two cheeseburgers on French bread. Two orders of onion rings. Three Cokes. That's what we ordered.

The first thing you notice upon grabbing your Rotier's burger is the freshness of the bread. Crappy bread can sink a burger, or a hot dog for that matter, before you even take a bite, but that's a no-worry at Rotier's, indeed. As for the hamburger itself, it's a man-sized, hand-patted hunk o' meat cooked to juicy perfection (no hockey puck analogies will ever attend a review of Rotier's), and it's topped with generous portions of fresh lettuce and onions, and plenty of dill pickle slices. I don't know if it's a perfect burger, but it's pretty damn close.

I'd be remiss if I didn't also mention that when you order a Coke at Rotier's you get it in a glass bottle. You gotta appreciate that!

Rotier's Restaurant
2413 Elliston Place
Nashville, TN 37203


Brian Stanley said...

I'm sure you have tried Brown's Diner. That's my favorite.

ceeelcee said...

Were you trying to go to Gabby's? I can never find that place when it's open.

Joltin' Django said...

Were you trying to go to Gabby's? I can never find that place when it's open.

Yes, I was referring to Gabby's!

As I learned on New Year's Eve, Gabby's is open Monday-Thursday, 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM; on Fridays Gabby's is open 'til 7:30 PM.

ceeelcee said...

I knew I was psychotic.

I mean psychic.

It's cuz I got ESPN.

No wait...

Tenn Irish said...

Rotier's brings back memories. Elliston Place is one of my historical subjects, but I don't get over there much these days.