The Farmhouse at Fontanel

The Professor and I went over to the Farmhouse at Fontanel, which is a new restaurant run by the people who do the Loveless Cafe. I was more enthusiastic about it than she was, but I think that’s just because I have a higher crap tolerance as proven by the fact that I am eating frozen taquitos from a box this evening, topped off with some fudge striped cookies while she is, I’m willing to bet, eating something that has not been made on an assembly line by a machine.

Plus, I’d really like to have a restaurant that close to my house that has good service and isn’t overwhelmed with live music.

I got the BBQ sandwich with mashed potatoes. The barbecue was wet, which is weird for Tennessee. We usually favor dry rubs with sauces of various heat presented on the table (or counter) for you to apply yourself. Still, fine. I thought it was delicious, but I like Manwich flavor. So, um, yes, you should not make your barbecue taste exactly like Manwich flavoring, I think.

But then, I thought, maybe when you’re trying to give tourists from all over the country something to eat? Maybe you do. Let them acquire a taste for how the locals eat it someplace else.

I don’t know. But it’s kind of an interested problem.

The other problem they have is that, on our side of town, for locals, they are in direct competition with Southern Bred. And The Farmhouse’s mashed potatoes sucked. I mean, sucked. Like the potatoes they used were just bad tasting and then, whatever they were trying to do to them after that? It didn’t help.

But, I don’t know. I like a restaurant there and I like seeing people working and the service is great.

So, I’m going to go back and get something else and see what I think.

11 thoughts on “The Farmhouse at Fontanel

  1. You know, sometimes I just think, “fuck it–I’ll die from something eventually; might as well die happy.” That is, when I think I might eat at Southern Bred every day. It’s so good.

    This Fontanel thing really isn’t on my to-do list because I kind of think of it as a tourist trap like the Loveless. It’s great for other folks and tourists, but I’ll go elsewhere.

    And you know I love you, but a transplant from Indiana who lives in Nashville ain’t got no business talkin’bout barbeque. Back when I ate meat, it was always covered in sauce. Neely’s and Interstate was the best. I had no use for the dry rub at Rendezvous; that stuff was for tourists.

  2. Illinois, smack-talker! I’m from Illinois. And I think you missed the most important part–it tasted identical to Manwich sauce. I’m not sure, but I think you’re supposed to have a sauce recipe a little more complex than “Open a jar of Manwich and spread it over your meat.”


  3. Yeah, there’s much less at stake for me not to like it. It isn’t around the corner from me. Sorry, I should have supported, not thwarted, your enthusiasm.

    I’ll surely give props for service and ambiance and all that.

    The meatloaf was decent. It was different, not all that loafy, which was odd. But it wasn’t something I will rave about.

    But those mashed potatoes, the problem is that “whatever they were trying to do to them after that” seemed to be absolutely nothing at all.

    And, you’ve taken me to Southern Bred a few times. That is just so fantastic and is the current standard for me. Maybe to be fairer to everyone else that needs to be more than the standard.

    At least I had great company at the Farmhouse.

  4. I could argue BBQ, but I won’t. It’s like arguing about music – subjective to one’s tastes. (although I prefer the meat to be well seasoned, I can put my own sauce on it thankyouverymuch

    What I am confounded by is the review of the mashed potatoes. How the **** does one screw that up? It’s a boiled potato, salt and pepper, butter and milk. I mean, a person has to TRY to screw mashed potatoes up!

  5. I just want to state for the record that I don’t prefer Manwich over other forms of barbecue. I’m just saying, it’s a taste I’m fine with in my own home. I just think it’s a strange, but tasty, taste for a restaurant.

    As for the potatoes, the Professor and I discussed this at length and we think that a.) they started with a bad base potato, something a little bland and mealy; b.) I thought they tasted “watery” even though the texture and fluff was fine; the Professor thought this was because there was probably nothing in there but potatoes–definitely no salt, pepper, butter, or milk. Which is fine, if you have a good potato or decent gravy, but they didn’t give us butter and their gravy was terrible. It tasted like a white gravy someone had added bouillon cubes to.

    I honestly don’t think anyone in the kitchen had actually tasted the potatoes or they would have known something was wrong.

    But while we’re talking mashed potatoes, does anyone want to speculate on what Southern Bred’s secret is? Whole cream instead of milk? What?

  6. I have never been to Southern Bred. This needs to be remedied – you know, for mashed potatoes research purposes.

  7. Yeah, I’ll have to partially side with Lesley on this one (and Newscoma can probably come in and third). That whole dry BBQ thing is only non-West parts of Tennessee. In West Tennessee (where the REAL BBQ is) you get your choice of wet or dry, most prefer it wet tho.

    I have only rarely had a sammich or ribs in Middle TN that was done right, save for the Mothership.

  8. Well, the important thing is this: what is barbecue in central Missouri like? Because they’re calling this “James Bros. Barbecue.” Possibly, barbecue in central Missouri is made with Manwich and thus, this barbecue is quite authentic, and we’re all being snobs.

  9. There’s a difference between Indiana and Illinois? I thought there was Chicago and the rest of that area was Indiana. Oops, sorry. I remind you that I went to public school in Memphis…and y’all all sound alike.

    I have never had Manwich. I have no idea what it tastes like. I should tell you some time about my mother’s aversion to such things–I’ve never had Stove Top Stuffing (apologies to Linda Dubin), Hamburger Helper, Manwich, and so on. And have only had the Spaghetti-Os from the Boyardee collection. And only on special occasions.

    The real issue here is the mashed potatoes. I’ve never had bad mashed potatoes. I didn’t know such a thing could exist! I mean, I even kind of like the potato flakes stuff from KFC. That just sounds criminal.

  10. I was looking for something on the Farmhouse as it is less than a mile from my house and the curiosity, it overwhelms. I am very confused by how one makes bad mashed potatoes. Fundamentally, how does one make mashed potatoes without tasting them to make sure the seasoning is correct? Maybe the preparer had a really, really, really bad cold. (Though honestly, mashed potatoes beat out chicken soup for me in the Foods to Eat When Sick, so that is still no excuse).

  11. Dear Sirs: I enjoyed a very good breakfast this am. The food was great and the staff was friendly and professional. They were ready to serve and answer questions, of which I had many. Tracie was our server and she extended her service to going to the gift shop and getting some things I requested even though the shop was not open. You have a lovely place and I will be around to see all the wonderful things you have planned for the place in the future. Dianne McClintock

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