Garth, one of the mangers, came by our table one night to see how things were going and if we liked the restaurant. We do, we like the food, we like the bread basket, we like the raw bar, we like the various dining rooms and patios, and we like to proximity to our house. And, every time we go, the friendly service gets better and better (early on, service had a slow start, but I think they work that out). Also, the big deal is that Urban Grub took a derelict car wash (it was an unsavory character hangout for at least a dozen years since I lived in the neighborhood) and made a really nice and relaxed restaurant with no evidence of unsavoriness.
But as human psychology goes, people are resistant to change. So, I told Garth, the 1st time going to Urban Grub, I was expecting to really dislike the place, probably because the place really changed the landscape of my 'hood. Even though the derelict car wash was and eyesore and a place for drug dealing, my brain (victim of normal psychology) was resistant to change. But, as the psychological change cycle goes, there is a time of acceptance and it only took 2 visits be accept and embrace this addition to my 'hood. My pals who dine at Urban Grub for the 1st time last week, were a lot like me. They all went into Urban Grub expecting to hate it, and heard it was terrible etc, and all of them were surprised and happy, and all it took was one visit for them to get to the acceptance phase of change. Some of them really enjoyed the al fresco dining, and some really liked the various wines by the glass. One real curmudgeon came in saying all she heard was terrible things, and she almost didn't come was won-over by the wine and bread basket. In the middle of dinner, she softened up and said that the biscuits were divine and just like her grandmother used to make. She too liked the patio, and the memories of her beloved grandma that the biscuits brought.
So the gig here is that Edgar the chef low and slow sous vides most all the beef, and low and slow smokes the chicken and brisket. The beef in particular are local grass fed beef which can be stiff and chewy unless it is treated correctly with low and slow heat to tenderize the meat and not make it seize up like higher heat will do. I just thought the sous vide was just a parlor trick, but having had the steak frite, I have been converted. The steak of the steak frite is usually a cut like flatiron which is stiff and chewy normally, but the sous vide really makes it tender enough to enjoy. The steak frite is really a well composed dish with house made chimichuri sauce of fresh herbs from the Urban Grub garden. The frites that come with the steak has been through a revolution to what they are now. They are just fresh cut potato fries, not some bad frozen food distributor fries, and not over done truffle fries - they are just simple fresh cut fried potatoes. Simplicity is best with the humble potato, and I just like these simple fries. And here is the deal, the frites are best enjoyed with the house made white bbq sauce. The frites don't normally come with the white bbq sauce, so ask for it on the side and dip your fries into it. The smoked chicken and brisket has been great every single time. The chicken and brisket are low and slow smoked, tender, and have just enough smoke to make the nose happy.
So, a few weeks ago, I was down in the Gulf of Mexico, and I went to a range of restaurants from wood picnic tables to white linen table clothes. Not one restaurant served local Gulf shrimp or oysters. How disappointed I was. I don't get seaside too often, and don't get fresh local seafood at all (seeing that TN is landlocked by 7 other states). So while in the Gulf of Mexico region, I thought I could get some local seafood, but no dice. I even went to one highly rated and expensive restaurant, and the menu claimed Gulf shrimp. When the plate came, the shrimp were all uniform in size, red like farmed shrimp, and had the texture of farmed shrimp. Gulf shrimp I have gotten over the years have a lovely muted peach color, have a much denser texture than farmed shrimp, and are not of uniform size. I fell liked I was duped.
So, as I got on the plane from the Gulf to home, I felt a bit robbed by not getting a Gulf seafood. The layover in Atlanta provided terrible food, so I didn't eat anything. When I landed at 9 pm, I called home saying I wanted to head to Urban Grub for dinner. All I had was 1/2 oz bag of peanuts, 2 cups of water in flight, and a pear I brought with me. I was hungry and felt defeated during my trip to the Gulf. We sat at the raw bar talking to Travis the raw bar guy. I told Travis that I stepped off the plane from the Gulf, and drove straight to Urban Grub, and he needs to set me up with some raw bar seafood, which I could not get in the Gulf. Is it irony that I spent a lot of money on a round-trip plane ticket, and 16 hours round trip to the Gulf of Mexico for Gulf seafood of which I could not find one morsel of Gulf seafood, when I just had to go a few blocks from my house to get Gulf seafood? So Travis was kind enough to set me up with a dozen Apalachicola oysters, and wild caught shrimp. The oysters were nice and plump with a fresh ocean flavor. Travis also set me up with a few beautiful peel & eat wild caught shrimp. They were that lovely pale peach color, and a meaty texture that you can only get with wild caught shrimp. With the money I spent to go to the Gulf, I could have gotten 100 dozen oysters and shrimp from Urban Grub, and I wouldn't have to leave my neighborhood.
I guess I akin the acceptance and embracing Urban Grub being like the pretty and stylish new girl in high school. In high school, when a pretty and stylish new girl starts to attend school, other girls assume the new girl is some sort of richy b!tchy snobby girl who is interested in being popular and could care less about the general population. Then the other girls, one by one, meet the new stylish girl and find out the new girl is nice, smart, and used her baby-sitting money wisely to buy some smart pieces of clothing. Well, Urban Grub is a new and stylish restaurant in an old and established neighborhood. Urban Grub staff is really nice. The dining rooms and patios are stylish, but also inviting and there is at least one space that will make most every diner comfortable. Chef Edgar is really smart for cooking meats low and slow to get them to be tender. And the Chef and staff are really wise to grow their own herbs because the fresh herb flavors are so inviting. Yup, Urban Grub may be new and stylish, but definitely nice and inviting. Glad I gave Urban Grub a chance.