Chef Pietro Vardeu is bringing some Miami flair to Nashville in the form of Sardinia Enoteca Ristorante. An establishment that I’m sure will be on your top list of good Nashville eats. When it comes to Italian food I tend to be pretty skeptical because most Italian restaurants that I’m familiar with are typically watered down heavy-handed versions of the simplistic-fare that is authentic Italian cuisine. You know, the over-sized bowl of pasta drenched in sauce and covered in some low-grade Parmesan cheese. Chef Vardeu’s history of culinary accomplishments shined through in many of the courses we enjoyed.
The setting, a chic and contemporary design that gives way for Sardinia to be either, the perfect lunch, dinner or special occasion destination. The restaurant is located off Eliston Place on 25th Avenue and there’s complimentary valet. Score! If you’re at all familiar with the parking dilemma in Nashville, you know how vital this offering is to the success of one’s evening.
The restaurant prides itself on the extensive wine selection. So if you lovers of the grape go check it out, let me know what you think? I started the evening off with the Tennessee Gentleman cocktail. A refreshing blend of Domaine (a ginger liqueur), Jack Daniels, and a squeeze of citrus. If you consider yourself a cocktail connoisseur, I recommend trying this at home.
We grazed the menu in search of the perfect items to order. Translating the menu might be a little overwhelming for those of us who took French or Spanish in high school as opposed to Italian. Our server was rather helpful but also lacked knowledge in deciphering some of the menu selections.
The meal began with a selection of Sardinia’s artisan cheeses. Which are imported from the country itself. (from left to right) We sampled the Manchego d.o.p. Iberico La Mancha, Pecorino sardo dolce, and the Robiola Bosina dell’ Alta Langa. Sardinia has a great selection that allows one to dip their toe in the pool without jumping in. We weren’t particularly fond of the Pecorino, but one out three isn’t bad. And be prepared to fight the temptation of cleaning that little red bowl of pear marmalade clean. It was the perfect accoutrement with our selections. I would definitely recommend the Grand Tasting of the house mozzarella which sounds fantastic.
Then there was the Bietole Insalata, a delightful marriage of red beets, romaine, cherry tomatoes, onions, shaved parmesan and honey. The wife was not particularly crazy about the salad, but I could not keep her out of my dish. The dish that I am spreading the gospel about to everyone I encounter. The Cipolline al forno con funghi trifolati, onions and mushrooms, this dish was so simplistic, but all the flavors were there and dancing on my palate in a way that leads one to shake their head in disbelief after each bite. The only thing I can tell you is that, you need this in your life. If you simply choose to dine in for drinks, I’d recommend this dish and the complimentary bread alone are a great meal. And you’ll be swooning over the blend of pecorino and olive oil concoction. We thought it was butter, turns out it was better than that. It’s delicious.
My entrée may have been The Best thing I’ve eaten since I moved to Nashville. The Lamb Shank porcini with Cannonau risotto. The meat was perfectly cooked, tender and falling off the bone. It was packed full of flavor and the little bits of mirepoix in every bite transported you to a place where comfort food reigns supreme. The risotto, creamy and aromatic, infused with a popular red wine from Sardinia called Cannonau; which is often used in Sardinian cuisine, pairing well with red meat and select cheeses.
My wife ordered the Pappardelle Cio Ciara with homemade ricotta,
tomatoes and black olives. She substituted the pappardelle for gluten-free linguine. It was a lite and delicious dish, luckily Sardinia offers gluten-free pasta. Which was a plus, because if you know anyone who has celiac disease or is on a gluten-free diet, then you ‘re familiar with the difficulty of dining out.
I wasn’t sure at this point if there would be any room left for dessert. But if you follow me at all on social media. You know that the wife and I do not turn down dessert. We ordered the Strawberry Tiramisu and the Panino con Nutella. I have to say after having a wonderful meal the dessert was a let down. The strawberry tiramisu appeared to be an afterthought. Two layers of whipped mascarpone cheese with lady fingers soaked in the juice of macerated berries. And I wanted so much more because if you’ve ever had a well prepared traditional tiramisu you know the joy of those coffee dipped cookies, whipped mascarpone and egg yolk. The hint of cocoa powder and if you’re lucky maybe some bittersweet chocolate shavings(sigh).
The Panino con Nutella I had high expectations for because I’ve seen so many adaptations in Italian restaurants that were delicious. Which led me to believe that I would receive something completely rich and decadent. Sardinia’s take on this was not what I expected. Their version, a light crepe sandwich filled with Nutella, drizzled in chocolate sauce and accompanied by a dollop of banana mash and homemade ricotta. I’m led to believe with a little revamping these desserts could be more than just the court jester.
Sardinia is sure to be a Nashville favorite and you’ll probably be fighting the crowd when sport season is in full effect. Chef Vardeu’s clearly preparing Italian cuisine made with love and attention to detail. Sardinia is also running a $36.00 3-course dinner special for June and July. They serve brunch on Sundays from 11 to 3pm. And you might want to stop in for lunch when they offer 3-courses for $20.00. You can also book reservation on Open Table. Enjoy! and come back to let us know what you think!
Sardinia Enoteca Ristorante
210 25th Avenue