Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Pavilion
Cole and I were at a local brewery event recently and were handed flyers for The Pavilion advertising their menu and a promise of good food and drink. So Cole and I agreed to venture out of our restaurant comfort zone, over to the “college strip” known as Demonbreun. We had no preconceived notions of grandeur due to the constant failures of restaurants that have occupied the small strip just off of Music Row but were definitely hopeful.

We happened to visit on a day where the weather was more than cooperating and we enjoyed the brisk evening air under a covered portion of the patio. We took a look around inside and were both impressed by the swanky d├ęcor, large bar area, and stage setup which could handle a few musicians and their instruments. We immediately ordered our drinks, a glass of Cava ($6) for me and a Volunteer Smash ($9) for Cole which consisted of Jim Beam, lemon, and vanilla syrup. He was a bit skeptical even as he ordered the drink but the concoction was blended just right and offered a sweet and incredibly refreshing drink that was perfect for any season.

Being the generous wife that I am, I let Cole make the first food choice of the night and he went with the Cajun inspired Croquets ($7). These were basically fried balls of rice stuffed with mozzarella cheese and Andouille sausage served with an etouffee cream sauce. While I’ll admit now that I was hesitant, these were spot on with a clever mixture of textures and sauce along with an interesting smoky twist and subtle hint of spice.

 Next up we had an order of Moody Blue Burgers ($11) on which we opted to substitute American in place of the standard blue cheese. The quality of these Angus beef patties really stood out but the true scene stealer here was the Applewood bacon. Now let me clarify, we love bacon, we love bacon on everything, and we love every type of bacon but this bacon added such a crisp and smoked flavor to the beef that it really captured our hearts and souls (a bit dramatic but we do love bacon).

 At this point, we had devoured everything set before us and were starting to worry that we couldn’t handle much more yet still had more food on its way. And then they arrived, in all of their delicious glory, our Chicken and Biscuit Minis ($10) which were the perfect combination of chicken fried to perfection on top of flaky buttery biscuits served with just the right amount of a house made parmesan cheese sauce. These are labeled on the menu as “Wanda’s recipe” and to give you an idea of our opinion of the enigma known as Wanda, just picture a beautiful lady deserving of a slow clap each time she enters or exits a kitchen.

 I don’t usually mention service as it is not high on our priority list in determining whether or not we will return to a spot we have visited but seeing as it was exceptional at The Pavilion I feel as if it deserves to be acknowledged. Our waitress was patient, attentive, and knowledgeable which I consider to be the trifecta of great service. The most impressive part was the fact that Cole, who I affectionately call “the camel” due to the amount of water he can throw back, was never stranded with an empty glass throughout the evening.

 When we received our check we were floored by the reasonable $49 tab based on the amount and quality of food and drinks we were able to enjoy. We always feel proud and oddly accomplished when we are able to keep our dates under $50 (major consequence of enjoying alcohol) and were especially impressed with what we were able to do with the money at Pavilion. All in all, this was a successful night

Ratings for Pavilion: (Scale 1-10)
Happy Hour - 0
Taste - 9.5
Ambiance - 9
Overall - 8.5