Philip Krajeck

Chef, Restaurateur

Nashville

For Philip Krajeck, there are no boundaries when it comes to good food. Not even international ones. At age 10, Krajeck, whose father worked for NATO, moved to Brussels — a magical place where charcuteries, patisseries, and farmers markets opened up like flowers on every corner. But when he returned to the southern United States for college, Krajeck was so shocked at the lack of decent food options, he soon hopped back on a plane to Switzerland, where he attended hotelier school, read cookbooks in his spare time and moonlighted at a nearby kitchen. Later, Krajeck excelled in stages at some of the world’s most renowned kitchens. He earned four consecutive James Beard Award nominations before his 35th birthday while chef de cuisine at the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star WaterColor Inn & Resort’s Fish Out of Water restaurant in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. But his boundary-busting days were far from over. In 2012, he opened Rolf and Daughters in Nashville, crafting a menu with everything from chicken liver pâté and homemade spaghetti with octopus to perfect roasted chicken and squid ink canestri. Krajeck confounds both southern and international boundaries with every dish. And Nashville hopes he never stops.

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  • On December 6, 2013
    Philip Krajeck answered the question: Philip Krajeck

    What are the best restaurants in Nashville?

    From the high-end perspective, The Catbird Seat. The team at The Catbird Seat has trained under some of the best chefs in the world, but they are doing something at what, in my opinion, is a fairly affordable price point relative to the amount of labor and cost of ingredients. They are cooking with detail and you’re eating 10 courses, but it’s tricked out and they’re serving the food and you’re watching them sweat. It takes away the pomp of fine dining.

    City House is obviously a staple for us — Tandy Wilson makes solid food. I love his simple vegetable dishes — recently I had this wonderful arugula and peanut salad. And I love all the pizzas; there isn’t one I love more than the others. Plus, I think City House has some of the best desserts in town. I enjoy going to Husk, I’ve had several good meals there. I love Bella Nashville; they make great pizza in the farmers market. Obviously, Arnold’s Country Kitchen, everybody talks about it and for good reason. It’s just good, down home, warm food that makes you feel good — and sleepy. There’s no pretension at all. Arnold’s makes great southern greens with fried chicken or a pork chop — you can’t go wrong.

    And then there’s Las Americas on Nolensville Pike; it’s a taqueria and pupusería. I like to get a pupusa, which is this moist masa dough that is very thin and flat and filled with some combination of meat, beans and cheese. It’s cooked on a pancake griddle and comes out softer than a tortilla. They serve it with a chopped cabbage condiment. It’s all so good and so cheap.
  • On December 6, 2013
    Philip Krajeck answered the question: Philip Krajeck

    What are the best bars in Nashville?

    I love The Patterson House on Sunday nights because it’s slow and they make great cocktails. I know many of the bartenders at The Patterson House and tend to trust their judgment on choosing my libation. There is one drink, The Clapless Belle, created by our friend Matt Tocco (former Rolf and Daughters bar manager) that is an amazing go-to. It’s not on the menu, but it can be made upon request.

    And I also really like the bar at Merchants Restaurant because I think the room is incredible. It’s a great space and there aren’t a whole lot of places you’d want to hang out downtown. Restaurant folks tend to end up at No. 308 because you can get everything from an ice cold Miller High Life to a well-crafted cocktail. And they are open late, which means a lot of us who don’t get off work until well after midnight, have a place to go.

    I also like Dino’s Bar & Grill because you can get a burger, and it can either be low-key or you can see an instrumental hip-hop show there. And I like The Gold Rush for wings on Saturday night. Nashville is really good at the dive bar thing. And it’s also really good at a more cocktail-oriented bar.
  • On December 6, 2013
    Philip Krajeck answered the question: Philip Krajeck

    Which Nashville restaurants are best for brunch?

    Husk has a really awesome brunch, we love to eat everything they prepare — [chef de cuisine] Morgan McGlone and his team are amazingly talented. The menu changes frequently and is always delicious. And then there’s always chicken and waffles at Hattie B’s Hot Chicken.

    Really, my brunch preference is to cook it at home. We’ll make sourdough pancakes or ricotta pancakes, or a frittata and a big salad. Since my mother is Norwegian, I also really like making cured or smoke fish, pickled herring and a boiled egg, vegetables, and dark rye bread. Those are some really good options. Paired with coffee from Crema, we’ll just eat and relax.
  • On December 6, 2013
    Philip Krajeck answered the question: Philip Krajeck

    What are the best places to stay in Nashville?

    I’ve heard there are some pretty rad Airbnb options. There are a lot of people working on new things, too, such as The 404 Hotel and Kitchen, which opened this fall. The 404 is our first true boutique hotel here in Nashville and also boasts a great new restaurant headed up by our friend chef Matt Bolus.
  • On December 6, 2013
    Philip Krajeck answered the question: Philip Krajeck

    What’s the best time to visit Nashville?

    Spring or fall is the best time to visit Nashville. There’s so much going on in the fall — outdoor concerts at Centennial Park, mountain biking is great this time of year and they just opened a single rail trail in Percy Warner Park. It’s a great time to go out and visit farms — I love to take my family out to Bloomsbury Farm, Bear Creek Farm or Rocky Glade Farm and see what they are growing. The weather is great. The spring is very much the same. Obviously, it’s nice to avoid the humid summer months, too.