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The Nashville area has gained hundreds of restaurants since 2010. But how much is too much?
Jon Garcia and Lizzy Alfs/USA TODAY NETWORK-Tennessee

Oh, Mother Nature, you moody beast. First, you slap a little winter on the tail end of summer. (Things got so gloomy there for awhile I found myself roaming across the moors searching for Heathcliff.) Then, just when we’ve gotten attached to our new fall boots and picked a sturdy anorak out of the L.L. Bean, you throw summer back in our faces again. Well, never mind. Should M. Nature decide to have another mood change — which she will — all the best restaurant patios have space heaters they can bring out on a moment’s notice.

— Ellen Margulies, for The Tennessean, ellen.margulies@gmail.com

Fin and Pearl

211 12th Ave. S.

finandpearl.com; 615-577-6688

Someone on one of my social media feeds the other day posted a pearl they found while eating oysters. I wondered whether they were allowed to keep it or if they had to give it to the restaurant. It’s a pretty cool bonus, like Poseidon’s version of a Happy Meal toy. Not a lot of sea creatures give out gifts or reward cards, but if octopi do it, it’s probably in the form of a nice Mont Blanc pen. And even if you don’t find one on your plate at Fin & Pearl, you can at least get a nice entree out of it.

 

answer.

132 46th Ave. N.

answerrestaurant.com; 615-942-0866

Breakfast, they say, is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast, I say, is for farmers, teachers and other freaks of nature who enjoy rising with the sun and running around saying things to people like, “good morning.” I mean, what kind of brutal thing is that to say to a person who has only just gotten out of bed? Vicious, if you ask me. Everyone knows brunch is where it’s at. That’s why it’s almost exclusively served on weekends, the cool kids of the days of the week. If you see me there, you can say hello. Just don’t tell me good morning.

 

Epice

2902 12th Ave. S.

epicenashville.com; 615-720-6765

Every locality seems to have their own unique way of pronouncing things. For instance, Lebanon the country, from whose traditions Epice’s cuisine is drawn, is pronounced using all three syllables. Lebanon the city, which proudly serves as the county seat of Wilson County, is more of a two-syllable situation: Leb’nun. Don’t get me started on Lafayette. While traditional cuisine in Leb’nun is certainly delicious, treat yourself to something different but equally delicious with the Lebanese cuisine at Epice. No collards, but definitely more eggplant and pomegranate than you’re used to.

McCabe Pub

4410 Murphy Road

mccabepub.com; 615-269-9406

Al Fresco is probably your best bet, date-wise. He won’t judge when you order the cheeseburger AND the potato skins AND the coconut cake. He even makes everything taste better. And he is, of course, Italian. Don’t get it twisted — McCabe Pub is all-American, but the phrase “al fresco” is Italian for “in the fresh air.” I think we all know by now I like my imaginary Italian boyfriends as much as I like my cheeseburgers. This way, I can have both.

 

Fort Louise

1304 McGavock Pike

hungrylikeafort.com; 615-730-6273

Truth time: Fort Louise is one of those restaurants whose dishes are so good you resort to ’90s slang, as in, “That hashbrown waffle with a poached egg, hollandaise sauce, gruyere cheese and a festive sprinkling of tiny chives is the bomb-diggity.” Yeah, THAT good. So even though the interior is a remodeled home with (probably) original wood flooring, with outdoor seating in the front and the back, you won’t care whether you’re eating outside, inside or crammed in the fireplace. Just bring me more challah bread French toast.

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