I chose to eat at the Copper Cellar nearest to the University of Tennessee to find a great experience. What I found in the process surprised even me. I had went to this establishment first because I had heard they were serving half-off burgers. You can always tell a restaurant's quality by their specials. If your burger is half-price, you sometimes get a half-price burger. From the moment I walked in, I knew a burger was out to the question.
Now we come to my first complaint. The parking for this place was inconvenient. If you have a compact car, bring it because you will need it. As I tried to navigate my tank through the parking lot, I looked for a place far away from any other car, parked, and set the emergency break. The parking feels like it is on a ninety degree angle. I walked through the door and my experience started to improve.
As I waited in line to be seated, I overheard the person in front of me receive the news that they would have to wait on a seat. After all, the place was buzzing with people from all different walks of life. To my surprise I was seated right away. I know you are thinking they must have known who I was but I will tell you they did not. If they had, perhaps I would have sat somewhere other than the kiddie table. Sure, I am exaggerating a bit, but the seating did feel a bit undersized for me. Note I am a rather large person. The place kind of reminded me of a fake Irish pub. It had some stained glass and mostly rustic wood. I personally enjoyed it but I am sure it is not for everyone.
My server was with me right away and, although quite inappropriately dressed for my taste, was very kind and attentive. She pointed toward the specials and was very helpful in what to order. For some reason, the pork chop caught my eye. I inquired about it because I love a pork chop that is done perfectly. Most restaurants do not. (Refer to the Applebarn review) The server suggested it to be amazing and so I ordered it right away.
I will say the food took quite a while, however, while I was waiting, I was never wanting for bread or drinks. I can wait for delicious food, and I was assuming this would be delicious. Finally the food arrived and, as you can tell by the picture, it was beautiful. I almost could not tell that this was pork. It looks like an amazing sirloin. This is how a boneless pork chop should look if it is cooked perfectly. I took my first bite......By far this is the best chop I have ever had. The seasoning was perfect and it was executed with precision. The fries were really good as well. The potato was lacking in butter but still cooked just right.
I wasn't a fan of the parking lot but, as you know, you can't judge a book by its inconveniently steep hill. The atmosphere was, for the most part, nice. The server was great and really tried to make you feel excited to be there. The food was simply put.. Amazing! For great food, great service, and a seat that made me feel like a giant, I give this experience a picky 4.6 out of 5.
This time I travel to a local favorite, Calhoun's, on Bearden Hill. As I walked in, I was greeted by a very nice hostess. This was such a pleasurable change to the recent hostess encounters I have experienced in this town. Looking around, I noticed what seemed to be a brewery in middle of the restaurant. The rest of the décor was standard and unimpressive.
My waitress came by and took my drink order. She seemed nice as well and so far I was pleased to be in this establishment. My drink came quickly and it was time to order. Not knowing what to get, I decided to try a bit of everything and chose the Calhoun's trio. It came with chicken strips, hickory smoked pork, and baby back ribs. It also came with slaw. Now Picky Nation you know I don't eat white food as a rule. So I opted to get double fries.
The food finally came. If you have ever stood in line for an hour for a roller coaster that was just ok then you know exactly how I felt. The fries were nothing to write home about. The chicken strips were good. The best part about the chicken was that the flavor was very unique. The ribs were great. Great flavor and the meat did fall off the bone for me. (I eat ribs with a knife and fork.) Where the fall came was with the smoked pork. It was dry. It had a good flavor but still very dry.
Overall the experience was great. The food had its high and low points. I suppose that is exactly why I got the sampler. My next visit will be more educated and I am sure I will enjoy it a little more. Still, this restaurant gave me a fine experience and for that they are getting a picky 4.0 out of 5.
Country Grilled Pork Chops
I was out and about one day and needed a place to grab lunch. In the mood for some country cooking, I immediately thought of the Apple barn. Well, at least, that's what I have always referred to it as. The actual name is the Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant. When I arrived, I was surprised to find it not too busy. As I walked in, I was seated right away. The staff was very friendly. My waiter was extremely helpful too. You guessed it Picky Nation. Another hum drum experience, in the sense that the service was great. On to the food, shall we!
I ordered pork chops, which is always taking a risk. I like to live dangerously. The server brought me some apple fritters with apple butter, and apple julep. Who could resist such and appetizer? The fritters were tasty and the julep was fresh, which is important. If you never had soured julep, it tastes kind of like rotten fish. I finally received my order and everything looked very good. I know mac and cheese is always risky for picky eaters, but I was pleasantly surprised. The mashed potatoes were very good as well. Nothing special. Just "country taters". The biggest miss was the pork chops. These chops were not the best cut of chop. I found them to be overdone and tough. To be fair, I suppose these are "country chops." I was just hoping for a little more from this establishment.
Here is the long and short of it. I had excellent service, great appetizers, and a main course that missed the mark. I suppose the moral of this story could be simply not to get the pork chops. For a chipper waiter, some great fritters, and a piece of pork that was tougher that Chuck Norris' beard, I give this restaurant a picky 4 out of 5.
hickory bourbon glazed Pork Chop
It looks delicious, doesn't it? A perfectly grilled chop with a sweet and savory bourbon sauce washed down with a side of golden crisped fries. Let me start at the beginning. I walked into the restaurant and it was empty. I think I caught a glimpse of a couple to my right, enjoying their night. The waitress comes and takes my drink order. She asks how long I would stay. I thought it to be an odd question being it was only
9 0'clock and they did not close until 11. The comment was made to her that we would be out early unless she kept us there until 11. That is exactly what she did. It took so much time to get my drink and food that I almost had forgotten what I ordered. When it came out to me I quickly remembered.
The picture you see above. The smell was amazing. I could not wait until I took my first bite. The menu described this dish as a tender grilled pork chop glazed with a hickory bourbon barbecue sauce. I took my first bite. At first taste it was amazing. However, the aftertaste left me with little to drink and even less desire to take the second bite. Picky nation this pork chop is spicy! I did not see anywhere in the description where it said this chop would burn my mouth off.
To add the insult to my injury, the waitress was being so slow at bringing refills, as if the place was full. It wasn't, and to my surprise, neither was my glass. The fries, however, were just as delicious as they look. Well, the ones that didn't touch the tortuous glaze. If you like spicy foods, you may enjoy this dish. For the rest of us in picky nation, I will give this a scorchingly bad score of a 2 out of 5.