December is filled up with Meetup options so let's get the New Year started with more good food and lots of Meetups. I'll try to keep the choices coming. My head is swimming and waiting to hear back from a couple restaurants for January Meetups.
This place is one of my favorites... so let's go again.
I did it!!! I braved a “dive” TWICE (an Iraqi market) and came away with ANOTHER great food experience at Al Rasoul Restaurant & Market just off Nolensville Road near the zoo. You would never spot this place in a million years if you didn't know to look for it. There are no menus with prices so you really have no idea what the end result will cost. The food is served cafeteria style - think an Iraqi “meat & three”. This is now one of my favorite places to eat.
I had been hesitant about going because of a Yelp review that said it was recommended women be accompanied by a man. Hogwash, on my 2nd trip, I went with a female friend plus there were two young Middle Eastern women there unaccompanied (although with scarves on). And the fear of being thrown out because of my dress was entirely unwarranted since I also saw Middle Eastern women in western clothes (no scarves) on my first trip.
First trip: I opted to go with a male friend (see above). For $11 I got - my choice of 3 styles of rice (plain, with saffron or with meat or veggies), 2 dishes (an eggplant stew & a spicy beef dish), roasted potatoes & carrots, my choice 4 soups, Iraqi flat bread that looked very similar to naan), a small salad and a drink. It was enough to feed two people. They had bottles of sriracha on every table which I thought was funny. Obviously, the Thai people stumbled onto something amazing and universal.
There was so much to choose from - a couple lamb dishes, a couple beef dishes, roasted chicken, chicken livers, 4 kinds of soup and a few vegetarian stews. I can't even remember everything. I can't vouch for authenticity but one 101st serviceman described is as the closest thing outside of Iraq proper...
Second trip: Awesome lunch with Jie (a female friend/Meetup member) at Al Rasoul Restaurant & Market. We got there just as the food was coming out. One gentleman let us take a picture of his family's breakfast made fresh consisting of a delicious looking Iraqi omelette, veggies with chicken livers. I personally don't like liver but the omelette looked so good I may have to order it. For the same $11, I got the "melt in your mouth" curried beef, chicken with peppers and roasted eggplant & tomatoes, pita bread, soup & salad. Jie Liu took home half her meal plus two lamb shanks cooked in two different styles of sauce ($4 each) for lunch during the week.
Location: Along the side street (turn by the U-Haul dealership) at the intersect of Elysian Fields and Nolensville Road. It will be on your right. Enter the restaurant via the deck or go in the market entrance on the side and turn left at the register. You pay when you leave, try to remember what you ordered (incl. any drinks) to make it easy on the cashier. Soup, salad and bread come with each meal.
Parking: Is limited at the restaurant/market. You may need to park in the strip mall across the way and walk a few yards (maybe 25 yards or so).
If you can’t join us for a small Meetup, I hope you will seek this place out and give it a try. I seriously doubt you will be disappointed.
Nashville Scene Review: