Photo from Boston Dreams and Michelin Stars blog
Every town gets the tourist district it deserves. In Nashville, it's Second Avenue, a Country-themed strip bracketed by a Hard Rock and a Hooter's, with Charlie Daniel's, Coyote Ugly, and competing souvenir shops interspersed in between. Just off Second Avenue is the seedy Printers Alley -- a pocket Bourbon Street. It's been in the news lately because the dimensions of its strip clubs are too constricting to comply with a new "step away from the stripper" City Ordinance.
I say all this by way of prologue because I was surprised as anyone to discover that deep in the bowels of Printers Alley, a new restaurant named Parco Cafe is serving great food. And I do mean bowels -- you have to descend a steep staircase off Printers Alley to enter the subterranean restaurant. (It aslo has a slight basement smell down there.) It was a quiet night inside, with only three tables filled, but the service was attentive and the food delicious. The chef, Chun Fu, is Taiwanese but trained at Le Cordon Bleu, and you can tell that he takes great care with and pride in each dish. Mrs. Chu worked the dining room and came by frequently to check on us.
The sign says fusion cuisine and it appears that Mr. Fu is fusing his Asian roots with his French training. (Or is Fusion supposed to be a pun?) Mrs. Fu brought us a complimentary amuse-bouche of chopped grilled tuna, taro root, and some sort of french fry, dusted with curry powder. Doesn't sound like much, but it was tasty. We then had steamed dumplings filled with diced shrimp, fish, and chives. They were elegant and obviously homemade. The dumpling skin was thin and translucent, not the waxy shell you find at down-market Chinese restaurants. We also had a mango, tuna, and avocado salad that was outstanding in both fresh taste and presentation. The chef prepared it as a layered tower, a green avocado base, a red sashimi-grade tuna mezzannine, and an orange mango terrace. I would go back just for that dish.
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