…on good food, questionable judgment, and making life work
If you haven’t heard, food is kind of a big deal here in Nashville.
Rolf and Daughters opened late last year (2012) in a renovated factory which has now become a mixed-use development, the Werthan Lofts. Rolf and Daughters is tucked away on a side street and not immediately obvious, especially if you are coming down the main drag, Rosa L Parks Blvd. Parking is on side streets, so you’ll get to see who can parallel park and who will jack up their reeeeyums either before or after dinner.
I first heard a buzz about it on Yelp; some of the people whose opinions I really respect were talking about it like it was the second coming and that nobody had found out it yet. That didn’t last long, but upon my first visit right around Xmas of last year, getting up at the bar was not a problem. My first visit was truly magical – I was exhausted from working long, long retail days during the holiday season and my family was out of town. The level of comfort I felt from the food and drinks was matched by the incredibly personable, genuine service I got.
What I didn’t know when I came here was that “Matt” who was behind the bar and who served me was none other than Matt Tocco, and he is pretty much a cocktail savant. An ex-pat from The Patterson House, he is the brains behind the cocktail program at R&D. And he was a blast to talk to about spirits; I easily could have spent hours chit-chatting with him.
What I love about this place is that they are warm and laid-back – you will not find pretension here, only well thought-out dishes, perfect portion sizes, and an organic ambiance. While generally I am not a huge fan of “community tables”, you always have the bar and now Rolf and Daughters takes reservations, which is awesome. The food is spot-on and the beverages amazing.
This joint has been getting pretty much non-stop accolades over the past few months, #3 in Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurants in America, it made the top 20 Esquire’s Best New Restaurants 2013, and I am sure there will be more that follows. I knew it was going to be special, but now since everyone in the country knows, I hope that fame doesn’t ruin it.
Below is my original Yelp review from last December and if you like it, don’t hesitate to click through and give it some FUC (Funny, Useful, Cool) love…
Guys guys guys… GUYYYYSSS!!!
Seriously. What the hell are you doing? And why didn’t you tell me about this place before?
This place gets it right. So many other places in Nashville get it close, but not right.
A nice, quiet ambiance, soft lighting, communal or private tables. Wood everywhere.
I sat up at the bar and a gent by the name of “Matt” took care of me. I started off with a cocktail, the “Laverda”, which was a delightful mix of apple brandy, Pierre Ferrand’s Dry Curacao, lemon, orange bitters and pimento dram. Freaking perfect.
Being in a brandy state of mind, I hit my second cocktail with “The Jackal”, which was Pierre Ferrand 1840 cognac, anejo tequila, Averna, and Angostura bitters. Had a spray of citrus over the top, served in a chilled lowball rinsed with absinthe. Again, perfect balance.
Along with that libation, I opted for the snack that was pâté campangola, house mustard and pickles – and oh yes, fresh toasted sourdough slices. YOU SEE THAT ARNOLD MYINT?!? That’s HOW YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO SERVE CHARCUTERIE, YOU STUPID, PRETENTIOUS, NO-TALENT HACK!
Ahem, anyway, absolutely perfect way to start things off, and for the main course, I chose the “Yorkshire pork”, which was beautiful plate of slices of pork, interspersed with apple slices, a fantastic sausage at the end, over a bed of savory kraut . Orbiting was a fantastic potato dumpling. Dabbed on top were splashes of whole-grain mustard, a perfect combination. Right after my plate was served, I asked Matt for a beer, and he proffered a pilsner they had on draft – a perfect choice. I took my time with my entree and it truly was spot-on in so many ways.
Had some great conversation with Matt who is a Patterson House ex-pat, and as I wrapped it up, I asked for some coffee; he magically made a fresh cup appear in my hand. A great cup of coffee.
Called it a night, headed home, can’t recommend this place enough to people after this.