Nashville does not have a shortage of wonderful restaurants, but a personal favourite of mine was Henrietta Red, in the redeveloped area of Germantown at 1200 4th Avenue in North Nashville. This beautiful, light and airy restaurant is the dream of Nashville native Julia Sullivan. She offers seasonal, contemporary cooking, with an emphasis on seafood, plus an oyster bar that has over two dozen selections each day. They are sourced from places like Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and British Columbia, to Washington State, Massachusetts, Florida, and Alabama.
This was another restaurant where it was hard to choose dinner because everything sounded so sensational. The restaurant focused on simple, fresh ingredients, with lots of sharing plates.
The restaurant is a very attractive, welcoming space, housed in a white brick building done inside in whites and blues, for a very coastal, nautical feel. The restaurant seats about 70 people. The dining room is divided from the barroom, by a large sliding barn door. There is a bar in the front and backroom. The whole back wall is windows, letting in lots of natural light. The walls are painted white, the floors are wooden, and everything looked fresh and clean. We sat across from the open kitchen and the wood-burning oven. We noted that the crowd here was a young, chic and upscale.
Chef Sullivan has worked at some highly acclaimed restaurants such as Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Per Se, Granny’s and Haven’s Kitchen. It is there where she met Allie Poindexter, her partner, general manager and sommelier. Together they have created this brilliant restaurant, named after chef Sullivan’s grandparents. The sommelier should note it took a little too long for the drinks to arrive.
The menu’s focus is seafood, with a couple of meat dishes. The menu is seasonally driven and many items are done in the wood-burning oven, from the homemade bread to the excellent wood-roasted oysters. I liked the fact that they change dishes and silverware with each course.
The crab salad is beautifully presented, made from jumbo lump crab, green goddess, avocado, fennel, cucumber, farro and nori. Another lovely dish, the heirloom tomato salad, with peaches, goat feta, basil, mint and lemon. It was so fresh tasting. The mushroom steak, a great alternative for non-meat eaters, made with oyster mushrooms, orange, fennel, roasted garlic, cashew, and sourdough croutons. We found the grouper to be a little overcooked and salty. It was served with cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, pine nuts, and saffron, it nevertheless was dressed in a lovely harmony of flavours.
Henrietta Red was the most anticipated restaurant opening in 2017. Serving an interesting global wine list and desserts from pastry chef Caitlyn Jarvis, as well as a creative menu, it is easy to see why Henrietta Red was a semi-finalist for best new restaurant by the James Beard Foundation in 2018.