Page Buttons

Home About Me Food Sponsor Blog Love

Friday, January 3, 2014

Nashville Food Friday: Chelsea Bistro

Chelsea Bistro near Nashville TN
Before the holiday rush, Steve and I went for dinner at Chelsea Bistro with some of his family and friends. Never heard of it? Neither had I! Chelsea Bistro is located in an unsuspecting strip mall in Whites Creek about 20 minutes north of Nashville. It's very easy to miss while driving past, so look for the Tattoo sign. Hidden in this remote location is a little space that offers traditional French food.
Inside Chelsea Bistro near Nashville TN
The inside of the space is nicely decorated and features a full bar. We went on a cold Monday night and were the only patrons in the restaurant. Because of the weather outside and the lack of people, the space was really cold and most of my party had to keep their coats on. After talking with our waiter, it felt like they kicked on the heat for us.
Butter tasting at Chelsea Bistro near Nashville TN

We started out with the butter tasting. I don't remember the exact flavors of butter that we had (one was sweet with honey and another had duck fat), but I remember thinking "Etch does this way better." I found the butter too cold; it needed to sit out and get to room temperature before serving to guests. Also, part of the bread (there were two styles included) was not fresh- it felt like it was at least a day old. The sliced bread, which is hard to see in the photo, was much better.
Escargot at Chelsea Bistro near Nashville TN
Steve and I ordered the escargot profiteroles to start. This dish contained three puff pastry shells filled with escargot and a rich garlic butter and white wine sauce. The escargot was a tad bit on the chewy side, but that is a common ailment with snail. The sauce was heavy and decadent but it worked really well for this little dish.

A note about the service- I don't mean to be harsh, but if Chelsea Bistro wants to be on par with the city restaurants, they need to kick up their game a notch. There was a long wait between some of the courses, which I found very odd considering we were the only customers in the whole restaurant. Perhaps this was because THE EXECUTIVE CHEF WAS HANGING OUT AT THE BAR MOST OF THE TIME WE WERE THERE.

How do I know this? Dude was wearing a white outfit with his name and "executive chef" embroidered on it. What was he doing at the bar? Drinking and hanging out with his girlfriend while smoking an e-cigarette. I have never eaten at a place of this caliber where the chef wasn't in the kitchen checking on the food, let alone flirting, smoking and getting drunk.

I must say that our waiter was very nice and attentive. He did stop by the bar to check in on his friends, but he was polite and answered all of our questions. It wasn't his fault the chef wasn't in the kitchen.
prawns at Chelsea Bistro near Nashville TN
For my entree I chose the Parisian gnocchi with prawns and a Gruyere béchamel. The gnocchi was light and delicious. I later found out that this was because their gnocchi is made with flour rather than potato. I guess I'll have to try making these! I loved the béchamel and its heavy thickness. My one disappointment was the prawns. The shells weren't split down the back so they were very difficult to eat. They also appeared to be slightly overcooked. Perhaps if the executive chef was in the kitchen…
Trout at Chelsea Bistro near Nashville TN

Steve ordered the trout almondine and I really liked this dish. The vegetables were fresh and not overly soggy, and the fish itself was cooked nearly perfectly.
turnips at Chelsea Bistro near Nashville TN

For a side item we ordered the turnips au gratin. This was a really nice take on a traditional dish. The turnips added a thick texture and earthiness to the butter and cheese. It was very heavy and cheesy; perfect for a cold winter night. I love turnips to begin with, so I was excited to see this on the menu!
Chelsea Bistro near Nashville TN
I feel I need to go back here on a weekend night when it's full of people to get a better idea of the service and food. It seemed like we ate there on an off night and I might be slightly prejudiced because I faced the bar and watched the executive chef cavorting all night. Everyone else on the internet appears to LOVE THIS PLACE, so please keep that in mind. I'm picky and hard to please. :)

I really like what Chelsea Bistro is trying to do. I love good solid French food and that is exactly what they serve. I really need to go back in the spring when they have more fresh farm-to-table fare on the menu. The location outside the city isn't ideal for me, but I love the fact that smaller towns are getting quality locally owned restaurants instead of your local Applebee's.

Chelsea Bistro on Urbanspoon


  1. Evertyhing you posted made me insanely hungry. I always feel super awkward when I am the only customer in a restaurant (it happened to me last week) but I usually expect that it will mean better service and faster arrival of my plates. Apparently that is not the case with that place. I have never had truly authentic French food...and I need to remedy that stat!

    1. This is authentic french "bistro" style which tends to be the lighter, more down-home style of cooking. Fancy french places are REALLY nice as well. Margot tends to have a heavily french inspired menu.

  2. i am literally drooling at the words "Gruyere béchamel"

    1. Ung. I know. That sauce was really good and makes me want to make gnocchi all the time now!

  3. Tried Chelsea Bistro this past weekend and EVERYTHING was perfect. Didn't experience any of the service problems you had and our escargot was perfect. We also had the tarte and steak frites. My mouth is literally watering thinking about both right now. We couldn't decide on dessert so we tried 3 of the 4 (creme brulee, pain perdue and the special galette of the evening). The owner ended up coming over and sending out a Chocolate pots de creme on the house because she said we must try them all!


Blogging tips