The Mockingbird: The Newest in Nashville's Flock
If you follow the Chicago food scene, you may know Brian Riggenbach from Yo Soy Underground Supper Club. Most of us know and love him from his appearance on Chopped. For those of you unfamiliar with the cooking reality show (even though I am quite certain everyone knows about this :) each chef is challenged to make an appetizer, entree and dessert using a specific set of random and interesting ingredients. Such a fun show to watch if you are intrigued by culinary creativity.
Brian and his husband Mikey have teamed up with Chef Maneet Chauhan for a new, modern diner concept call The Mockingbird Nashville. I had the opportunity to preview their upcoming menu items at the "Flock Feast" and it did not disappoint!
Details of the location were undisclosed until 24 hours before the dinner. Anticipation always makes the event that more fun. We checked in and were escorted up the stairs to this beautifully curated communal table adorned with candles and boxwood. While we mingled with the other guests, we were served the Perfect Pear. This drink was tiny and mighty. Comprised of Pear Brandy, Fresh Pear Nectar, and Herbed-Maple syrup, everyone was asking for more. Delish people!
Paired with the Perfect Pear, I know- so cheesy;), was Rice Rice Baby. Pimento Cheese Arancini, Charred Scallion Puree, and Piquillo. Bite-size balls of goodness.
Before we get too far into the menu detail, can we talk about the naming conventions of each dish? Mikey did a phenomenal job crafting clever names that engrain themselves in your mind.
Even after the initial bites that were passed, I knew I was in store for a fun and fabulous evening. The room was radiating with positive energy and everyone was filled with excitement to see what was in store for the evening. It would have been impossible not to have fun that night.
Up next, our salad course. Oh.My.Gourd. Literally. Roasted Squash, Puffed Quinoa, Shaved Apple, Pepita, Herbed Vinaigrette, and Bleu Cheese beautifully plated. The crunchiness of the puffed quinoa provided the perfect amount of texture to the dish. The pepita seeds were almost like bites of toffee or butterscotch and the bleu cheese pulled the entire flavor profile together.
Being one of the first crisp evenings in Nashville, it was more than the perfect time for soup. Chef Riggenbach served In Perfect Hominy: Ancho, guajillo & cascabel chili's, hominy, pulled pork, radish, and cilantro. Truly the epitome of comfort food as it would cure whatever ails you. I was thrilled that I was wearing a dress... there was not one bite I could pass up.
Just when I thought things couldn't get any better, Chef Riggenbach BLEW MY MIND. The main course, Poultry in Motion, was served. Goat milk caramel chicken and pickled carrot served atop roasted ginger-gochujang potato puree. These are the potatoes that you want to have at your Thanksgiving feast. Packed full of spiciness and flavor they beautifully complimented the moist and tender chicken. And can we talk about how gorgeous it was plated? Stunning!
For the grand finale, guests dined on butter cake, poached apple with Sorghum whipped cream. It was everyone's Apple-y Ever After moment. :)
The Mockingbird restaurant is scheduled to open January 2017. I was lucky enough for Chef Riggenbach to take us on a quick tour of the space. Lots of amazing things are going to be happening here! If you can keep a secret.... there are even talks of a walk-up taco window in the future (Morning Glory). Brace yourself as this newest addition to Nashville's flock of restaurants is sure to soar above the rest!
The Mockingbird Nashville
21A 12th Ave. North Nashville, TN 37203