Recently, I went to the Mad Platter for dinner with a bunch of other people. I haven't been to the Mad Platter in years. The Mad Platter has been around since 1989, and next year, the Mad Platter will be 25. That is longevity, and I am wondering if this is one of the longest continuously running restaurant of this caliber in Nashville. I hope the Mad Platter sees another profitable 25 years, or as long as the owners and chef would like to run the Mad Platter.
Back in the day, some double digit years ago, when The Man and I first met, we went to the Mad Platter for our 3rd date and it was winter. I remember a couple things about what we got back then. There was a daily special appetizer that was rabbit stuffed morels (3 giant ones on the plate), and a side for the entrees was sea bean stalks. Back then, it was the "fashion" to have really unusual ingredients cooked by using molecular gastronomy to create a plate. I am so glad that fad is over, and now the fashion is farm-to-table. Anyway, back then, I had only had rabbit twice before, and why not, we gave the app a shot, and was my 3rd time and last time eating rabbit. The rabbit was dry and stringy, and zapped all the moisture out of my mouth as I tried to eat one of the stuffed morels. With no moisture in my mouth, it made it hard to swallow, so I just sat their chewing and chewing enduring until I could get it down. I am guessing The Man didn't like it either (and he has not ordered rabbit since then either) and insisted that I eat the 3rd rabbit stuffed morel. Being raised as to never waste food, I endured the last rabbit stuffed morel. I think I don't like rabbit because every time I have eaten rabbit, it is dry and stringy. I think we lied when the waitstaff asked us if we liked it, and we said yes. I don't lie like that anymore. If waitstaff really wants my opinion, I am telling them. If it a dish is fine in my opinion, I am going to let them know things are fine. If I am gagging through the 1st bite, and they ask, I am going to let them know. Oh, and the sea beans, outside of a coastal Asian preparation with classic coastal Asian flavors, sea beans shall never be on my plate again. The texture and flavor, in my opinion is not good just boiled and put on a plate.
That was then and this is now. The menu is now is more down to Earth, and accessible. None of the ingredients were from local farms within 100 miles of Nashville during this visit, but since it is winter and not growing season, I give them a pass for my desire to be a locavore. The waitstaff said that in the summer, they do try to source locally.
The current concept and dinner menu is divided into courses, so you can mix and match as you desire, and is quite versatile. If all you want is an entree plate, that is doable, but if you want soup and salad before your entree, you can do that, or if you want to make a 5-course meal, you can do that. One gal at the table created her dinner out of two appetizers and a salad. Some decided to get an entree only which is plenty of food for dinner. Others of us made our meal in French style of a 5-course meal. How the 5-course meal works is to choose a entree, and for only $20 more, add a soup, salad, appetizer and dessert. I opted for the rack of lamb (rare, that is how I roll) and I opted for the turkey and rice soup, a spinach bacon salad topped with a fried egg, wild mushroom ravioli with a truffled cream sauce, and for dessert a creme brulee.
The turkey soup was outstanding. The soup was like spoonfuls of the best parts of Thanksgiving. It made me feel so warm and homey to eat this soup. Every spoonful made me smile and have images of Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving, and an overall feeling that everything is right in the world. I do like the fried egg on salad. I like the rich texture and flavor when the warm egg yolk mixes with the salad dressing. The ravioli dish was also outstanding. The truffled cream sauced ravioli is quite rich, and to cute the richness and balance the dish, a sweet an sour chutney was served along with the ravioli. And the rack of lamb was cooked perfectly and accompanied with chickpeas and a grape confit. Again, the lamb dish was well composed with a nice flavor and richness balance between the lamb and grape confit. And for dessert, I opted for a creme brulee. But, the dessert of the night that really wow-ed everyone was the Elvis flourless chocolate cake. Oh yea. The layers of this cake were beautiful shades of chocolate, and was so visually appealing. The slice was thin, and appropriate for a serving of dessert. When I go back to Mad Platter, I am definitely getting the Elvis cake.
Overall, my meal at Mad Platter was outstanding, with a couple of the dishes I got I will remember, in a good way, for days, weeks and years to come.