Henrietta Red
1200 4th Avenue North, Nashville, Tennessee 37208
http://www.henriettared.com/

I stepped off the plane and literally, hightailed it to Nashville’s newest restaurant, Henrietta Red. Nestled between Cochon Butcher and City House on 4th Avenue North, Henrietta Red is a restaurant/barroom serving up a variety of coastal fare. Chef Julia Sullivan, a Nashville native, and business partner Allie Poindexter partnered with Strategic Hospitality (last seen here) to develop this chic-seafood concept in the ever popular Germantown neighborhood.

Chef Julia Sullivan built quite the culinary resume while in New York City.  Spending time at Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Franny’s in Brooklyn, her most notable assignment was as a cook in Thomas Keller’s Per Se kitchen. Julia and Allie were introduced to one another while working at Haven’s Kitchen.  A match made in heaven, if I say so myself!  Without further adieu, the pair left New York City and moved to Nashville to work on this labor of love, Henrietta Red.

So I bet you’re wondering, Henrietta Red?  How did they come up with that name? No, it’s not the name of a historical building (although that currently seems to be the trend these days), but rather a tribute to Julia’s grandparents. “Julia’s grandmother, Henrietta, was one of five sisters from the town of Rockville, South Carolina, on the Intercoastal Waterway, south of Charleston.  Edgar was her husband, a gentleman doctor, and redhead.” Such a fantastic memorialization.

Now that you’ve got the backstory let’s talk about the food!

There are countless options to choose from on the menu, and fortunately, you don’t have to choose just one! They encourage ordering several different items and sharing them with the table so you can get a flavor for what the restaurant has to offer.

The Raw Bar is certainly the standout at Henrietta Red.  Offering a wide variety of oysters from the East, West and Gulf Coasts, you are certain to find something to please your palate. Not necessarily in the mood for oysters?  No problem. The restaurant offers several crudo options that would be to anyone’s liking.  My partner in crime opted for oysters from varying regions while I went with the Striped Bass Crudo.  Can we just take a minute and admire how lovely this plate looks?  Almost too good to eat!  Such a light bite and an excellent way to start the meal. The sliver of pepper provided the perfect punch of flavor.

Brightening things up a bit, we ordered the Citrus Salad. Blood Orange, Cara Cara Orange, fennel, shallots, and olives brought this salad together. The fennel and shallots deepen the flavor of each bite so much so that it brings out all of the citrus characteristics.

Up next: the Smoked Mussel Toast – served with dill and mustard butter. The toast is large enough to share between two people, but if you have more in your dining party, I would recommend ordering a second. The dill and the mustard butter complimented the flavors of the mussels quite well. Honestly, the perfect transition into our main courses.

There were so many main dish standouts that I struggled with what to order.  At the last minute, I caved and chose the Mushroom Risotto. What can I say? I am a sucker for risotto, especially when I am not the one having to stir constantly! Speechless.  I expected this to be a bit on the heavier side and quite creamy and filled with calories, but I was pleasantly surprised!  Instead of using typical arborio rice, Chef Julia chose to use farro which lightened things up giving the dish a heartier texture.  Rather than cooking the ingredients into the creamy/starchy mixture, it was almost as if the fennel and leeks were tossed in and the mushrooms placed atop the farro mixture.

Adhering to the classics, my partner in crime ordered the Red Snapper.  What a fantastic dish! The fish was light but full of flavor.  Needless to say, I stole more than a few bites.

What meal would be complete without dessert?? Perusing the dessert menu, one item stood head and shoulders above the rest: The Brown Goat. The name alone is a standout.  Goat Cheese ice cream served with flourless chocolate cake?  Um, yes, please!  And Root Beer Chocolate Sauce?  I am seriously dreaming of this dessert as I type. YUM!

Good things come to those who wait, and Nashville has been anxiously awaiting the doors of Henrietta Red to open. Chef Julia Sullivan showcases her culinary prowess taking coastal cuisine to an entirely different level. Now that your mouth is watering click here and make your reservations for the weekend because they are sure to fill up fast!

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