Big River Grille Exceeds My Expectations

Big River GrilleWith all the holiday season hoopla, I haven’t had many chances to dine out for the month of December. In fact I’ve only been out a total of three times this month. Today’s feature review is Big River Grille in Downtown Nashville. I’ve seen this restaurant numerous times but have never taken the time to stop by. Needless to say, Big River Grille has always been packed with customers. So when Haley announced that we were going there for her company’s Christmas party, I saw it as an opportunity to finally see why it has been so popular.

Big River GrilleWhen doing research on Big River Grille, I was actually surprised to learn that it is owned by CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries Inc. (the same company that owns Old Chicago)! Like Old Chicago and their other brands, CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries Inc. focuses on their very own craft beers and made-from-scratch foods.

Big River GrilleBig River Grille is one of the bigger restaurants you’ll find in downtown Nashville. Easily identifiable by their neon sign and outdoor patio on the corner of Broadway & 2nd Ave, Big River Grille has the ability to accommodate any sized group, big or small from 10 people to a few hundred. Big River Grille is definitely aimed to please with a full bar, several hand-crafted brews on tap ranging from light lagers to stout ales, and a distinguished menu that has a little something for everyone.

Asiago Artichoke & Crab DipWhat impressed me the most about Big River Grille was the extensive menu. For some reason I envisioned that the main items on their menu were mainly sandwiches and burgers. Why I got that impression is a mystery to me because the menu here is anything but that. A broad list of appetizers should appeal to even the pickiest eater. For your main course, you have a choice of numerous salads, sandwiches, pizzas, and a list of 24-something entrees (including specialty dishes) to tame your hunger for prices ranging from $10 (for the simplest salad) to $27 (for a specialty steak).

Kobe Sliders & Fried Onion StrawsFor appetizers, the table ordered the Asiago Artichoke & Crab Dip ($9.99) and the Kobe Sliders ($8.99). The dip consisted of artichokes, real crab meat, and Asiago cheese blended together and topped with pico de gallo on toasted sliced baguettes. The Kobe Sliders were American-style Kobe beef mini patties on buns with a sliced kosher dill pickle and mustard. The dip was thick, creamy and chock full of artichokes and crab meat. The sliders had an intense savory flavor with just the right amount of spices and a sour kick from the pickle and mustard. Both these appetizers were absolutely amazing and had a quality and taste that exceeded my expectations.

Gorgonzola Bone-In Ribeye & SidesFor dinner, I opted for the specialty 18 oz Gorgonzola Bone-In Ribeye ($26.99) with White Cheddar Mashed Potatoes, and Green Beans. As far as non-steakhouse restaurants go, this was definitely one of the better steaks I’ve tasted. The steak came out just the way I liked (medium rare) with a dollop of Big River’s gorgonzola butter. The steak was already seasoned and salted well but the addition of the gorgonzola butter added a creamy and tangy characteristic to the steak. While most ribeyes are laden with chunks of fat that are included in the total weight, I was relatively pleased that my particular cut had minimal fat, meaning there was more meat for consumption.

Equally impressive was the White Cheddar Mashed Potatoes, hand mashed potatoes (including the skin) and white cheddar cheese. This blend of ingredients had a nice balance of butter and sharp, pungent, cheesy flavor. Lastly, the green beans were also good. Expecting just simple green beans and salt, I ended up with whole green beans with slivers of onions and seasonings.

Barbecue Chicken PizzaLast but not least, my hunger led me to a slice of Barbecue Chicken Pizza offered by one of Haley’s coworkers. This Barbecue Chicken Pizza ($10.99) is large enough to feed 2-3 people. Starting with a homemadecrust made with a splash of Big River’s own Sweet Magnolia Brown Ale, it’s slathered with Sweet Magnolia barbecue sauce and topped with grilled chicken, four-cheese blend, cilantro, red peppers, and onions. The sauce was not too sweet and the crust was thin and crispy… definitely a great non-traditional pizza.

Overall I am extremely impressed with Big River Grille. The food was fantastic, the service good, the atmosphere was unique, and the pricing is competitive. It was definitely not the type of restaurant I was expecting, which is proof that you shouldn’t make assumptions about a restaurant you’ve never experienced for yourself. I suggest you give it a try the next time you’re in downtown Nashville and looking for a bite to eat.

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Big River Grille
111 Broadway
Nashville, TN 37201
(615) 251-4677

Bill Total:$10 – $27 Per Person

Big River Brewery & Mojo on Urbanspoon

Food:4.0/5.0 ★★★★☆ 
Service:4.0/5.0 ★★★★☆ 
Atmosphere:4.0/5.0 ★★★★☆ 
Price:4.0/5.0 ★★★★☆ 
Overall:4.0/5.0 ★★★★☆ 

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