Esquire has announced their list of the Best New Restaurants 2013, and Philip Krajeck's Rolf and Daughters makes the cut. The restaurant also received a nod back in August from Bon Appetit's Andrew Knowlton as the third best new restaurant in the country. Here is what Esquire's John Mariani has to say about Rolf and Daughters:
Everything about Rolf and Daughters is suffused with gentle southern understatement. Its Web site tells "a little bit about us," saying it's really a "neighborhood restaurant" in the historic Werthan factory in Germantown that "takes reservations for dinner by phone, you can leave a message and we will call you back to confirm," and that they're "humbled and superexcited to be a part of what's happening right now in Nashville." The site doesn't even give the name of the shy owner, Philip Rolf Krajeck, who says he cooks "modern peasant food." What that actually means: tender heritage chicken with lemon and soft, sweet garlic; fabulously rustic pastas, like gemelli with hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, black kale, and Parmesan; and generous meatballs with a pungent gremolata (crushed garlic, lemon peel, and parsley). Or a simple plate of heritage country ham sliced thin on chewy sourdough toast with pretty little local radishes.
The vibe extends to handcrafted communal tables and the way walk-ins are cordially greeted. There is a bona fide industrial cast to the space, a former boiler room: worn brick and heavy metal framing and a lumberyard of reclaimed wood on the ceiling. It all fits together at Rolf and Daughters, an exemplar of the kind of excellence now found in great southern cities like Nashville.