Review: Local Chef Brings Brilliant, Affordable Farm-to-Table Cuisine to Brentwood

Between the months of February and October, Chef Steven Robilio offers up some of the finest cuisine packaged into a five course meal. The idea of the 2017 Farm Diner Series is that good, local food doesn’t have to be expensive, difficult to find or relegated to Nashville’s upscale restaurants. And the offerings are dazzling. With so much emphasis on Chef Steven Robilio’s commitment to local sourcing, the focus can easily become where the food comes from, not what happens once it gets into his hands. And considering that a 5 course meal with wine pairings come in at around $50, the restaurant is a bargain to boot. All you have to do to be a part of it is to make a reservation. Each of their Middle Tennessee locations host the monthly dinners in private dining rooms with family-style seating and a warm atmosphere.

Course by course, guests are presented with Steven’s creation and subsequent drink pairing. Dinners typically include a light starter, a soup (either chilled or heated, depending on the season), a pasta or risotto dish and a hearty meat or seafood course. After the fourth course, the chef returns with a smile and a thank you for attending, then he returns to the kitchen for one final composition; a dulcet and creative dessert and aperitif combination to act as the finale to the dining event.

We began the dinner with the Asparagus and Prosciutto topped with a 63 degree perfectly poached egg and parmesan cheese. This was easily my favorite thing to eat of the night. But anytime you give me an egg as beautiful as this one it is hard not be. I am usually not a fan of arugula, but it was an unexpected and welcoming surprise to counter the salty prosciutto. It was paired with Alexander Valley Vineyards Gewürz. Usually I reach for a dry Riesling but Gewürz hit the spot on this dish. Often on the floral side and somewhat effervescent, this wine can be a refreshing alternative to your go-to white, especially when you’re looking for something that will go well with food. I think I would have liked it more if it had a little bit more of a chill to it.

For the second course the chef transformed humble carrots into a gourmet meal with coconut and green chili. It paired perfectly with the Quinta do Lago Vihno Verde Rose’.  I enjoyed the taste but didn’t find the presentation worth grabbing my attention, while others argued that a simple dish done well can be compared with some of the finest and complicated dishes in the world. The deep orange liquid flavored with honey and roasted coconut was earthy and rich, with a slightly sweet undertone, and was finished off with a drizzle of green chili.

Some dishes amazed us in its ingenuity, like the shrimp and grits dish. The goat cheese grits were topped with jumbo sauteed shrimp and served in a bath of tomato, white wine, and calabrian chili. Everyone at the table enjoyed the flavor and the spiciness of the dish. It almost looked as if it came right from a magazine page of Southern Living. Balancing spicy, smoky, and salty flavors, the crushed, oil-packed calabrian chiles from Italy’s Calabria region have a complex flavor. The piquant kick complemented the savory grits well. The Urban Riesling cut right through that spicy to give your mouth a little cool down.

The fourth course featured local Bear Creek beef tenderloin. It was served with Japanese sweet potatoes and chili lime roasted broccolini. All of Bear Creek’s cattle are grass fed and grain finished, with no hormones or antibiotics. Their meat is continually graded prime or high choice. You can find them at the Franklin Farmers Market, every Saturday of the year behind the The Factory in Franklin, Tennessee. But what made the dish for me was the pairing of the Quinta do Lago Douro, a red wine from Northern Portugal. It was a great way to counter the beef and potato.

For the final course we enjoyed the Mexican chocolate-infused panna cotta with macerated berries. The combination of ingredients was spectacular. I didn’t taste the rather granular texture of the Mexican chocolate, it just had that creamy finish from the cocoa butter. The panna cotta was both pleasantly sweet and savory. It was the perfect way to end a meal, and definitely a high point. The final cocktail was a mix of vanilla vodka and coffee tequila. I found it very difficult to drink. I think a nice hot coffee would have done the trick.

Mexican Chocolate Panna Cotta with shortbread cookie and fresh macerated berries

All of the food was thoughtfully put together, and the space itself was so intriguing. It is clear that Chef Steven Robilio and staff are excited by what they do. The crowd was casual, mostly older, and no children. Servers are attentive and fairly knowledgeable. The beverage program offers a nice and frequently changing assortment of cocktails, draft and bottled craft beers and a budget-conscious wine list. Attentive servers can discuss the options at length, just another unexpected bonus in a restaurant that seems to live for nothing else than greatness.

AMERIGO BRENTWOOD:

Location: 1656 Westgate Cir, Brentwood, TN 37027 (615) 377-7070
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 11 AM – 10 PM Sunday: 11 AM – 9 PM
Reservations: Recommended Online or call
Attire: Nice casual.
Credit cards accepted: Yes.
Parking: lot with additional parking available
Since opening our doors in Ridgeland, MS nearly 30 years ago, Amerigo has since become a local Italian favorite for the Jackson, Memphis and Middle Tennessee communities. Each of our five locations share many of the same original Amerigo menu items with local inspiration and ingredients where available. Our dedication to serving guests fresh Italian meals in a warm, inviting atmosphere is at the core of each of our restaurants.

https://amerigo.net/2017-farm-dinner-series/

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