Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ellendales – 8.1.08

So today marks another first for Nashville Eats Its ABCs.  We are pleased to pull up another chair and welcome our first-ever-guest-lunch-reviewer for our romp thru the letter E and Donelson's delightful Ellendale's.  This guest reviewer is a good friend of ours and also one of those powerful, music executive types who like to sit in his corner office, chomp his cigar and tell wide-eyed aspiring musicians that he can make them 'famous'. Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together and make welcome our very special guest, Mr. Jorge' Azoff

Jorge': I was bestowed with the high honor of joining your regular trio of reviewers for a bite at Ellendale's restaurant in Donelson. I must say that I was impressed overall. The building was clean and welcoming, set in an old house that made it feel inviting. The bathroom was a little spooky and dark, but...overall nice! We partook of the lunch buffet and I was overall impressed! The variety of food was a little disjointed, with pastas and buffalo fried chicken somehow coexisting together...the number of options was satisfying to my palette, with everything from salads (pasta and the lettuce variety) to potatoes, fried rice and FONDUE!!!! You can never go wrong with fondue...I liked Ellendale's quite a bit...i would go back, with or without the trio...   

Hank: Buffets scare me.  That’s a fact.  So when we walked into Ellendales and saw that the lunch buffet was the main attraction...I had my reservations.  However...after taking a walk down the buffet line...seeing a cook swapping out dishes for freshly cooked ones...and realizing this wasn’t your fried shrimp, chocolate pudding and pancakes buffet...I went for it.  The food was actually really good.  Some of the highlights included fresh fruit and salads (boring)...some mighty fine Swedish meatballs (I don’t know what makes a meatball Swedish...but let’s just go with it), oversized buffalo wings with blue cheese, cheese fondue, chocolate fondue and a couple pasta dishes.  I pretty much got a little bit of everything...and enjoyed almost all of it.  For $10.95...it was actually a pretty good deal.  Add to that a health score of 98 and the fact that it’s fairly easy to get to off the highway...I’ll probably be back.  Overall...a good lunch to end the week.   

Eddie: When we first walked in I felt a little under dressed.  My jeans and sneakers didn't quite fit with the cloth napkins and the fine china.  But one glance over at Frank put me at ease...at least I wasn't wearing cut-off cargos.  After settling at a table and scoping out the menu, it took about 4 nanoseconds to figure out that the buffet was the way to go.  Unlike some buffets that put out every conceivable food type in its most generic form, Ellendale's opted for quality over quantity.  The selection of salads and hot entrees was well-chosen, fresh and flavorful... throw in a little cheese fondue, some fresh fruit, and a chocolate brownie, and I was one satisfied customer.   

Frank:  Whatever, Eddie.  I’m no slob!  I like my cut off army pants, black t-shirt and flip flops.  This is my summer uniform and I wear it proudly – multiple times a week… and into restaurants of every ilk.  And speaking of restaurants, what about Ellendale's?  Ellendale’s is the mothership that launched the unsuspectingly tasty Phat Bites, which we visited some time back.  Ellendale's was another great find but there’s not much more I can add to what the guys have already said thus far.  For a buffet, the food was great.  If Shoney’s ranks a 1 and Copper Kettle is a 9, Ellendales ranks a solid 8.5.  I decided to try a bite of every item on the hot bar and the following is what I happily crammed down my gullet:   

Red pepper mashed potatoes, Swedish meatballs, vegetable lasagna, green beans in a cream sauce, roasted pork loin, broccoli casserole, rice pilaf, hot chicken, tortellini in marinara, some other pasta deal, cheese fondue and steamed mixed vegetables.   It was all delicious, but my favorite was the meatballs...  mmmmm.
Ellendale’s does have a weird vibe to it though, but it is hard to put my finger on what it is.  An old school, medium-upscale place that tries to land in the 21st century somehow.  I will call the vibe “Donelson Dandy” for lack of a better term.  But go check it out for yourselves..  I’m pretty sure that you’d like the food. 


Pete said...

May I suggest the Farmers Market for your next stop. Be sure to stop by the International market and try the fresh homemade sambosas.

Erin said...

I didn't know Ellendales spawned Phat Bites!
ANOTHER reason to check it out. Though you did have me at "fondue."
You guys have a great thing goin' here. Keep it up!