Monday, August 8, 2011

Restaurant Review Monday: Demos’ Steak and Spaghetti House of Nashville

Demos' Steak and Spaghetti House on Urbanspoon

Good steak with a steaming helping of identity crisis

First, I would like to apologize to the good citizens of Nashville.  I don’t typically review restaurants off of my “home turf.”  I mean how can a tourist be expected to take a single dining experience and objectively compare that establishment to the rest of the scene in that city?  It just ain’t happenin.  But…I couldn’t resist this review.

Located a block off of Music Row (Broadway) in Nashville’s business/ financial district, Demos resembles those iconic Italian and Greek eateries that were once mainstays of the East Coast; big awnings, bright neon signs, and an overabundance of chutzpah.  This is not a place for a quiet romantic meal.  This is one of those loud, brassy joints that isn’t ashamed to let you know it!  Children, families, and shorts are all welcome, so if this isn’t your milieu you may want to make reservations somewhere else.

The service at Demos is some of the best that I have ever experienced at a casual dining venue.  While we were waiting for our table in the “stall” (they really should rethink this area of the restaurant so that diners don’t feel quite so much cattle) the bar tender overheard us talking about ordering drinks, and came from behind the bar to take our drink orders.  This added service was most welcome as it was nearly 100 degrees outside, now if they would only expand their beer menu!  Our waiter and server were friendly and approachable without being overly chatty, which complimented the overall convivial atmosphere of the restaurant. 

Unfortunately however, we didn’t go for the service.  The menu was a misguided mess of meat and ethnic cuisine, with more options than an itemized Federal tax form.  Greek salad served alongside chili chicken nachos, Mexican spaghetti, and an assortment of steaks.  11 different forms of sauce comprise the “spaghetti” menu in addition to the “homemade lasagna.”  Word of advice: anytime a restaurant puts the word “homemade” in front of any item on the menu it means that not everything on the menu is homemade despite their claims to the contrary. My recommendation would be eliminate half of the menu and spend more time focusing on what's really important...Steak and Pasta!

All of their beef is aged for 36 – 48 hours, and is well seasoned and expertly cooked.  The various cuts that I “sampled” from the plates of my dining companions were all excellent, though not necessarily transcendent.  My seafood fettuccine ($9.99 served with a salad and bread) was an immense disappointment.  The seafood was previously frozen while the sauce was bland and uninspired.  The complimentary bread served with the meal was oily and coated the palate with that distinct taste found only in processed animal fats. 

The cherry “cheesecake”  was a perfect presentation of what could have been an enjoyable dessert, if it had only been actual cheesecake instead of the new fangled cheesecake mousse being distributed by Altira. 

So my recommendation: skip the pasta, order a steak and potato, and because you’ll be skipping dessert as well make sure to order the Giant Ribeye.  Good service and descent food at a remarkably fair price. 

Eat good food.  Drink good beer.  And above all, stay classy.

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