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Friday, April 25, 2014

Nashville Food Friday: The 404 Kitchen

A review of dinner at 404 Kitchen in Nashville Tennessee
Located in a former shipping container in the heart of the Gulch, the 404 Kitchen is exactly what you would expect from a James Beard Award semi-finalist (best new restaurant category).  This incredibly-small-but-incredibly-neat restaurant is nestled away, almost unassumingly, next to the Station Inn and is dwarfed by the ever-sprouting high-rise condos nearby. And if the uniqueness of the restaurant wasn't enough, it's attached to a small 5 room boutique hotel. The 404 Kitchen is one of the best places in Nashville, and it's hiding in plain sight.
A review of dinner at 404 Kitchen in Nashville Tennessee
The 404 Kitchen has been on my list for quite some time. When my dear friend Kate and I wanted to go out for a girls night, we were surprised when we were able to grab a last minute table here for dinner. The dining room is very tiny, with only a handful of tables squished very close together, a patio, and a small bar. The largest party I would recommend here is 4 people, because beyond that you might take up half the restaurant. The decor is simple, woodsy, and is unassuming. The standout is the large window that lets in beams of beautiful light. Thank goodness for spring days.
Cocktails at 404 Kitchen in Nashville Tennessee
We started off with a cocktail from their lovely leather-bound book of offerings. I chose the Flight 404 which our waitress informed me was one of the sweeter drinks. It had gin and creme de violet and what I got was the most visually appealing cocktail: A light purple drink with a dark lovely luxardo cherry at the bottom. The flavor was sweet, but it had a strong earthy gin flavor that I loved. I guess gin is quickly becoming my go-to alcohol of choice. WHO AM I?  Kate ordered the Nearest Green which had bourbon, apple brandy, honey, and Benton's bacon. There were little shards of crisp bacon taking a bath in the bourbon. This drink tasted like breakfast; an amalgam of syrup and bacon. It was really strong, traditionally manly, and highly enjoyable.
burrata at 404 Kitchen in Nashville Tennessee
For an appetizer we went with the house made burrata. We had a whole ball of the softest mixture of mozzarella and cream tossed with a dressing made of pine nuts, leeks, grapefruit, celeriac and truffles. Everything about this dish was smooth, except for the occasional crunch of the pine nuts. Surprisingly, despite all the dairy, the dish was amazingly light. The sauce was so wonderful that I almost jumped for joy when our server brought us fresh bread to sop up the leftovers.
truffled egg study at 404 Kitchen in Nashville Tennessee
For my entree I had the truffled egg study. THIS! JUST THIS- might be the most amazing dish I have ever had that makes the lowly egg rise to the top the culinary pedestal, as it so richly deserves. The egg, perched upon a bed of fresh pasta, was slow cooked for a long time, making it the most delicious poached egg you can imagine. Once tapped, the yolk oozed all over the plate and when mixed together with the caviar and truffles created the richest, creamiest sauce for the pasta. The truffles themselves where thinly shaved and blended in well with the sauce. While $28 might seem really pricey for one egg and some pasta, I pretty much guarantee that you have never had egg prepared this way, and with all the fancy accoutrements, you will become a believer.
Dry aged try tip at 404 Kitchen in Nashville Tennessee
Kate ordered the Dry Aged Tri Tip with farro and root vegetables. The meat came out cooked to the exact specifications asked for and the seasoning really added a nice bit of flavor to the meat. The grilled onion added a nice touch of sweet and the farro underneath created a bed to soak up all the flavors. Every time I try farro I'm reminded that I really quite enjoy it and should consider making it at home sometimes.
Ramp Rissotto at 404 Kitchen in Nashville Tennessee
For our side dish we choose the risotto with mascarpone and ramps. I'm always hesitant to order a risotto because if you have ever watched Top Chef, you know that if you make one, you are going home. (Yet year after year someone dares to tempt fate and make one- only to be sent packing). I can assure that if this dish was served on Top Chef the judges would cheer and the risotto curse would be broken. Ramps made the risotto taste fresh, like spring, with that light garlic and onion taste that reminds you of lying in fresh grass. If only ramps were in season the whole year round *sigh*.

The 404 Kitchen is top notch. Everything about it is pretty damn near perfect. Our waitress was polite, but very informative, almost as if she cooked everything herself. The presentations were gorgeous, creating a feast for the eyes as well as the mouth. Make a reservation, bring a friend, and prepare to be impressed.

The 404 Kitchen on Urbanspoon


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