In keeping with Eater tradition, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, and bloggers. To kick it off in Nashville, Eater asked the group eight questions, ranging from the restaurants they frequent most to the biggest surprises of the year. Responses are in no particular order, and readers are encouraged to leave answers in the comments.
Q. What was your biggest dining grievance of 2017?
Nancy Vienneau, food writer and critic for The Tennessean:
"Truffle oil" needs to go away.
The time I didn't ask what "market price" was for a lunchtime fish dish, and the price was not volunteered by the server who was pushing it. I'm lucky I didn't end up ordering it, because it turns out it would have been a $42 lunch. Not cool.
Lesley Lassiter, food writer for Nashville Scene’s Bites Blog and Lesley Eats:
High rents necessitating high priced dining/drinking.
Matt Rogers, editor Eater Nashville:
There are the usual complaints, all of which will unfortunately continue to be issues here, and most everywhere else: too many copycat restaurants, a lack of diversity in kitchens, a continuing decline in the overall quality of service (due of course to a national shortage of skilled/experienced labor).
But one of my personal complaints is that Nashville does not have a news outlet that will run a restaurant review that is anything other than positive. With the incredible growth the city has seen over the past five years, I see this as a major disservice to the dining public. Nashville has, more often than not, been quantity over quality during that time, and a lack of quality has certainly not kept a number of restaurants from being successful. Not every big, splashy restaurant that opens is good, it’s a statistical impossibility. The city’s coverage in the form of restaurant criticism should accurately reflect that.
Vivek Surti, founder of VEA Supper Club and Sabrage Society:
Lack of diversity. It's rare to see a non-white chef in this town. It's rare to see a female chef in this town. It's rare to see a non-white restaurateur in this town. There's way too many places making the same food. There's too many "new and modern" steakhouses.
And food journalism took a major hit this year. With Jim Myers (Tennessean) and Steve Cavendish (Nashville Scene) being layed off, Nashville lost its two best food writers. Sadly, that's a void that won't easily be filled.
Beth Wallace Sachan, founder and food writer at Eat. Drink. Smile.:
I don't have enough days in my week and hours in my day to visit all of the new restaurants and bars! I keep a running "To Do" list on my phone of the places I still need to check out, and it's currently at 12.
Outside of the Nolensville corridor, I still feel there's an extreme lack in international food that is delicious, authentic and not too hole-in-the-wall. I stand by what I said last year: Nashville needs Vivek Surti to open up a concept or three.