I'll admit it. The FIRST thing I do when I get to a new city is start talking to the "locals". There are a lot of things you can glean from them. Most often in my line of questioning I encounter a certain facial expression when I tell them what kind of food you're looking for...as if to say, "We don't have much for that around here..", which is almost always followed by a nearly identical comment affirming "the look".
My Mister and I were picking up some essentials at the Whole Foods Market with our Wubby in Franklin, TN on Friday evening. I decided my golden opportunity to score some good 411 on where to eat was right then...in the checkout. I asked, "Where is a great place to eat around here that is NOT a chain restaurant?" (This is a good question to start with, unless you're completely in love with something in particular. Chain owned places hardly ever change their menus and they are woeful to take an order that is going to be altered from the menu listing in ANY way; even if it saves them time and money. Heaven help you if you want something rare...). A fellow shopper came to our rescue...
No joke! It IS great!
Just west of I-65, on Murfreesboro, is where you'll find this gem. Locally owned and run it has all the feel of heading to Grandma's for Sunday dinner. With comfy seating, just the right amount of light and plenty of smiles to go around, the Chop House boats their own homemade salad dressings, a signature dish called "Rattlesnake Chicken Pasta" and FABULOUSLY soft drop biscuits....this place is SURE to please even the pickiest of eaters. Trust me, I'm one of them!
Great booth seating!!
The Daily Specials Board...pretty cool!
As always, the first thing my Mister and I do is check out the App menu. The selection was pretty typical. My Mister usually goes for something with chips. Yeah, he's THAT predictable. So, when I got back from my wandering and picture taking, I wasn't surprised to find Spinach Artichoke Dip & Chips found its way onto our table. But...I was surprised at how FAST it came. Like LIGHTENING!
Spinach & Artichoke Dip w/ Salsa
We dug into it right away. The chips were still warm, the dip was SO creamy and the salsa was "mmm...yummers...” The dip had nice body, provided by the artichoke and the sour cream on top really rounded it out nicely giving it an extra little zing in the flavor department. I was SUPER exited for my entree.
After much deliberation amongst myself I finally was able to decide on what to order for my main dish. The aforementioned Rattlesnake Chicken Pasta was hard for me to pass up on, but when our server told me that they made ALL their dressings IN HOUSE, I couldn't pass up trying most establishments train wreck on a plate. The Reuben.
When someone tells me that they make their own dressings IMMEDIATELY my brain goes to the "taste of disappointment vault" where MOST of those dressings have been neatly deposited and left for dead. The bottom line is that some chefs just can't find the correct balance between their vinegars and oils which is what EVERY dressing comes down to; fats and acids. Then, with a Reuben there is a bonus "FAIL" built right in, the possibility of skunky 'kraut. Which I define as...overly laced with vinegar and sugar to the point of nauseating. Basically, gross. Then there is the possibility of bad rye bread or worse...no rye at all. And the MOTHER of all insults...horse crappy, dry corned beef. You get the idea. This sandwich can make or break a chef's reputation in no time flat.
Usually these monstrosities come griddle fried, sometimes even panini pressed (SO WRONG!!). My sandwich did not. It came out of the kitchen piping hot, stacked HIGH and lightly toasted. I was completely in LOVE with it from the moment I saw it. But, seeing isn't everything.
The moment of truth had come. I took my first bite. The toasted marble rye held up against the 'kraut on the one side and against the Thousand Island on the other. Great sign! The more I chewed the more intoxicated I became. The corned beef was prepared to perfection; unbelievably moist and the perfect level of savory. Second bite....and I was hooked. The 'kraut wasn't skunky, in fact it was quite loveable. I'm one of those German's that will eat warm 'kraut and mustard in a bowl. Good 'kraut anyhow. Overly vinegary or sweetened sauerkraut just grates my brain. The Swiss was smooth and brought the sweet out of the beef beautifully.
This sandwich comes with a side and I wasn't in a mood for fries. I had already had my fill of "fried" anything in the past week. I went with corn. Love it, can't wreck it. A little bit of butter and you're GOLDEN.
If you're in the Franklin area and in the mood for great food, kind smiles and a relaxing atmosphere, drop in on the Chop House and give them a whirl. I am confident that you'll love it and keep going back for more. I know I will be dropping in on them whenever I am in the Franklin area. Bon appetit!!