“Southern Charm” is presented in a whole new dimension at Amerigo’s wine dinners in Nashville’s trendy West End, especially with those like Carolynn Shanks in attendance.
A Research Assistant at nearby Vanderbilt University, Shanks had just returned from a trip to the Napa Valley, sampling the finest that the legendary wine country of Northern California has to offer. With an emphasis on seasonal ingredients from Bear Creek Farm, Delvin Farms, Franklin Farmers Market, and Noble Springs Farm among other local venues, Chef Steven Robilio creates a monthly tasting experience for the “Farmer’s Market Dinner” at Amerigo locations in Nashville and Brentwood that leave no reason for any looking to sample the best in food and wine pairings to head out west.
This is certainly true with Nashville now becoming more a “foodie” destination, with the wine dinners at Amerigo in Nashville and Brentwood at the vanguard!
A major factor contributing to that is the availability of fresh ingredients of a high quality nearby. For each “Farmer’s Market Dinner,” Chef Robilio scours the local stalls and stands, in a quest for what is at peak flavor. Based on the reaction of the sold-out event, he succeeded in that endeavor. Accenting it was the de facto sommelier and Assistant Manager, Jackson Gilstrap, who paired off each course masterfully with a beverage that brought out the full range of flavors and accents. Together they presented each course and pairing to Shanks and those others fortunate enough to book ahead for a reservation.
Playing to a packed house, this Nashville scene culinary tour de force started with a Miller’s Mule and BLT’s. It was certainly not your mother’s BLT (as seen below). And it was most definitely not your father’s Miller from a can, either.
The “T” was a fried green tomato unlike any other ever tasted before. Accompanied by bacon, leek, scallop, and romesco, it was a worthy sequel to the movie, “Fried Green Tomatoes.” Why the scallop? Easy enough: “Because I like them,” declared Chef Robilio as he introduced the dish.
Gilstrap repped the hometown beverage industry with his Miller’s Mule, too.
The Miller’s Mule was perfected utilizing products indigenous to Nashville. Gilstrap proudly showed these to Shanks below, detailing the genesis of each item in the well-stocked, wine and spirits cabinet of Amerigo. This is a matter of great pride to Gilstrap as he stated the Amerigo “dogma” to be, “…stay away from incapita beverage selections. We offer a broad range to be able to serve those looking for a $7 glass of wine at Amerigo to bottles for close to $200 each.”
One would certainly expect an anticipated, logical progression in going in order for detailing each course.
But the Chocolate Torte and Fonseca Bin #27 Port were the headliners, even though served at the end of the meal. For all those times as a kid that you wanted to eat dessert first, the Chocolate Torte and Fonseca Bin#27 Port are the reasons why for an adult! Never has a flourless offering tasted so light and inviting. There was none of that dense, thick consistency with a virtual chocolate mud taste found in so many other flourless creations. For those who have never been entranced by a port, you owe it to yourself to sample, sip, and ultimately savor Fonseca Bin #27 Port.
The last course changed completely my outlook on flourless desserts and port.
Confirming my longstanding love for duck was the Pecan Duck entrée. Flavorful and soft to the fork, no knife was needed to unleash the full bounty of the bird. The cauliflower puree, okra, and peach demi heightened it in an elegant, understated manner (always the best for a side dish).
No need to feel left out for missing the July “Farmer’s Market Dinner” with Shanks and others!
Chef Robillio can be seen on the prowl at farmers markets in the area as there is a series of “Farmer’s Market Dinner” at the end of each month. If you can’t make the Amerigo Nashville happening, Brentwood is a short drive down I65-S. It is much closer than Napa, and a rewarding wine experience also the result, without having to endure a bout of jet lag!