New Nashville Opening: Little Octopus
You may have noticed that I don’t talk about new restaurant openings as much as I used to. With the rate they’re happening in Nashville these days, it’s nearly impossible for me to keep up so I decided I’m not even going to try. However, once in a while a concept comes along that I’m so excited about that I can’t not talk about it. So here we are.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, June 9th, Little Octopus officially opens for business in East Nashville’s POP space. Oddly, I hadn’t even heard any rumblings about the new restaurant until a giant octopus mural was being painted on the outside of the building a couple of weeks back, and then my curiosity was most definitely piqued.
Within a few days, I got an email from POP announcing “the next dining room residency at POP Nashville”, Little Octopus. Daniel Herget was chosen by owners Sarah and Brad Gavigan to take on the role of executive chef, and he has put together a menu of hot and cold small plates, salads, raw offerings, bowls, sandwiches (lunch) and large plates (dinner).
avocado, crispy shallots, sour orange, charred scallion, cilantro at Little Octopus
Last week I had the opportunity to preview the lunch menu, so I jumped on it. After tasting just the first two dishes that were brought to the table, I was an instant fan.
Vegetable heavy, with lots of vibrant, fresh flavors, this place has exactly the type of food I’m looking for during the warmer months. Pescetarians, vegetarians, vegans, and gluten free customers will be happy to know that there are several options for them. Even voracious meat eaters like me might find themselves being drawn to the plethora of other dishes when dining here – I know I was!
I truly could go back and only eat raw fish and avocado and be the happiest person on the planet. Seriously, who knew that a simple bowl of avocado could be so glorious? This is coming from a person that hated avocado until just a few short years ago. No doubt I will be eating bowls and bowls of avocado this summer at Little Octopus, as I’ve been craving it ever since I left lunch on Friday!
Little Octopus hamachi, green apple, truffle, lime, jalapeno
Then there are the raw offerings. The hamachi was fantastic. It reminded me of some of the preparations I fell in love with at Bar Crudo in San Francisco a few years ago. There is also a Cobia with fresno chili, jicama, cilantro, coconut, and ginger on the dinner menu that I’m dying to try, so I’ve already made plans to dine with friends one night next week!
bok choy, root vegetables, peanuts, nuoc chom at Little Octopus
The bok choy left me thinking, “Why can’t the vegetables I cook ever taste this fantastic??”, and “I could be a vegetarian if I could make my vegetables taste this interesting”.
Little Octopus farro bowl, burger, and roasted maduros
Those first three I mention were definitely my favorites of the meal, but the rest of the dishes did not disappoint either. The farro bowl with kimchee, egg, pickled eggplant, and pea shoots was similar to a bibimbap in texture. Lime and cotija cheese were unexpected yet perfect complements for the roasted maduros (fried sweet plantains).
With all of the other creative options on the menu, I probably would not have chosen to order the burger, but now that I’ve had it, I would most definitely recommend it, particularly for those that might not be as adventurous as some of us are. Dressed with manchego and pequillo aioli, it is super flavorful and was perfectly cooked.
I can pretty much never pass up anything with coconut milk, and the valencia rice with cobia was as delicious as I’d hoped it would be.
Valencia Rice, coconut milk, cobia, red pepper, tomato palm oil at Little Octopus
Little Octopus will offer dining room and patio dining as well as a lounge and full bar for lunch and dinner six days a week.
Since it was lunch time when I visited and I was on the clock, I didn’t imbibe, but the cocktails look as interesting as the rest of their menu… so I will most certainly be partaking when I head back for dinner in a few days!
They’re now accepting reservations 2 weeks out, so send inquiries to email@example.com.
604 Gallatin Ave Suite 202
Nashville, TN 37206
Tues – Sun 11 am – 11 pm