Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Un excellent repas!
"Where can you get a good muffuletta in Nashville?" That question asked, my foodie-bud Pat and I headed to Ri'chard's in West Nashville in search of muffulettas, fine Cajun food, and good music. We found all three.
Let me just tell you, Ri'chard's is definitely off the beaten path. From south-South Nashville Pat and I had to get on I-24 and go 'round town and get on 24 again 'til we got to the White's Creek exit, and then we drove for a whilst wondering, aloud, if we were ever going to find the place.
Well, Pat and I did eventually find Richard's ... tucked away in an old Masonic building at the corner of Old Hickory Blvd. and White's Creek Pike. First thing we noticed was the number of cars that had spilled out from the small parking lot alongside the road and into a vacant lot across the street. A good sign, indeed.
Upon entering Ri'chard's you're immediately hit by the distinct aroma of creole seasoning and the sound of deep-fryers doin' their thing. Another good sign, I thought. (As an aside I'll also mention that Ri'chard's has some of the, ahem, comliest servers in town -- and they're damn friendly to boot.)
Now, the food. I've said it on this blog before and I'll say it again: I'm a nut for Cajun/creole cuisine. It's not hard to find a fern bar or Mexican joint in this town, but you really gotta look hard for good Louisiana cookin'. Ri'chard's has it in spades.
First up was a plate of crawfish étouffée and fried potatoes. The étouffée was full of plump crawfish tails and loads of onion, bell pepper, celery (the "trinity," as Cajuns like to say). The sauce was rich and the rice on which it was served was cooked to perfection. The fried potatoes weren't bad either. In fact, they tasted just like the fried potatoes my Granny Ruby used to make.
As much as I enjoyed Ri'Chard's étouffée, it was the "cup" of gumbo I ordered that almost, literally, knocked my socks off. It's obvious from the first bite of Ri'chard's gumbo that an expert hand stirred the roux that forms the basis of the spicy concoction. Full o' plump shrimps and vegetables, I'd rank it up there with some of the fine gumbos I've had in New Orleans -- or in my kitchen.
Oh, before I forget. The muffaletta that was the impetus for the journey? It wasn't half bad, either (I know 'cause Pat let me have a small bite of his sammich). As big as a hubcap, it featured an olive salad that's every bit as good as the olive salad served in the famed Central Grocery in New Orleans. Maybe I can get Pat to elaborate on it one of these days.
4420 Whites Creek Pike
Whites Creek, TN 37189