The year is drawing to a close and, as is tradition, Eater Nashville has surveyed several Nashville food writers and dining experts on everything from their best meal in 2018 to their food headline predictions for 2019. Responses are cut, pasted, and (mostly) unedited, and are listed in no particular order.
Now, Nashville’s restaurant experts spill their grievances this year in dining.
Q: What was your biggest dining grievance of 2018?
Nancy Vienneau, restaurant critic, The Tennessean; food journalist, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine: Inconsistencies in service and in the kitchen — all representative of the thin-thin labor pool. I’ve had earnest yet completely untrained servers; I’ve seen restaurants open with great promise under certain chefs falter after those chefs depart. I’ve learned of personnel poaching, which is a destructive practice.
Erin Byers Murray, Nashville Lifestyles magazine editor: Service in this city continues to be a hurdle.
Kristen Luna, travel and food writer and founder of travel blog Camels & Chocolate: I feel Nashville’s dining scene is a victim of gluttony. We can’t do anything in moderation; it all has to be over-the-top excess. Whereas a new restaurant opening used to be a celebrated affair, something a food lover looked forward to with anticipation months in advance, there are now as many as five new restaurants opening in a single week, and it’s far too hard to keep up. There are still restaurants that opened in 2016 and 2017 that I haven’t made it to, so 2018 full-on overwhelmed me.
Delia Jo Ramsey, Eater Nashville editor: The lack of consistency in food and in service is a major issue at far too many places. Some of the worst meals I’ve had in the city came just weeks after stellar meals at the very same restaurant — huge letdowns.
Margaret Littman, author Moon Nashville and Moon Nashville to New Orleans Road Trip guidebooks, freelance writer Nashville Scene, the Telegraph, PUNCH, Nashville Lifestyles: I have to pick two: Poor service (i.e. not understanding restaurant pacing) and too many places that are too loud for conversation.
Chris Chamberlain, food writer at Nashville Scene, Sounds Like Nashville: I’m about over shishito peppers. Yeah, I know one out of ten is supposed to be a spicy surprise, but it rarely ever turns out that way. They’re just...fine, not that special.
Courtney Hood, founder of Blonde Voyage Nashville: With all of the restaurant talent flowing through Music City, it would be nice if Nashville could land and sustain a Michelin star restaurant.
Beth Sachan, founder and food writer at Eat. Drink. Smile: Ridiculously priced cocktails that aren’t worthy of the price tag. I don’t mind paying a pretty penny for a drink, but if I do, I expect more.