As we explore our sweet city for culinary delights quite regularly, I’ve been inspired to start reviewing some of our favorites. I’ve worked in a restaurant for the majority of my working life, so the reviews you read here may be a little different than most. I’m not going to nitpick about the color scheme of the restaurant, how long I had to wait before being seated, or how offended I was by the strong perfume from the table next door. I’m strictly focusing on what matters most, the food. For the other things, check out Yelp 😉 Also, a special shout out to my sweetheart and favorite chef as this was the meal we had to celebrate his birthday.
To start this ongoing series with a bang, I’d love to introduce you to a lovely little spot in the Gulch called Little Octopus. Although this restaurant is not new to the Nashville scene, it is new to their gorgeous location on 12th Avenue.
Little Octopus is a Caribbean Latin fusion restaurant by Sarah + Brad Gavigan with Chef Daniel Herget leading the kitchen.
Being moderately obsessed with anything gold-clad, I was immediately drawn to their incredible gold feature mirror at the front entrance. As we walked in, it was equally as lovely, with lots of natural light from the large windows, light pink, tan and gold décor throughout, and the intoxicating smells coming from the kitchen.
Speaking of the kitchen, it happens to be the centerpiece of the establishment, with tables and booths surrounding it from nearly all sides. There are even high top chairs directly in front, so you can have the best vantage point for all the action going on in the kitchen.
Like many of our favorite eateries, Little Octopus is all about small plates and sharing, which we adore. They also boast the 2nd largest selection of rum in the southeast region. How cool is that?!
What we ordered (almost everything)
I’ve always been a potato girl, which I why I was surprised when it was Grant who was the first to request them for dinner. They are every bit as flavorful as they look and then some. We weren’t able to finish them all, but they made for fantastic leftovers the next morning.
Within the last few years, steak tartare has nearly reached the top of my favorite foods list, so when I saw it offered on the menu, I was already sold. This is my first experience with a tartare that has such a smooth, velvety texture. The pickled lentil and shallot were superb (not surprised). The butter, flaky flatbread was a perfect companion to it all. Definitely one of my favorites of the night!
After two decadent plates, we were thankful it was time for Hamachi. This expertly prepared dish had just the right notes of sweet and spicy for a perfect bite each time.
Baked in the sweetest cast iron skillet, this plate greatly reminded me of squash casserole, a classic southern side. Mornay is basically a bechamel with cheese, so you’re in for a serious treat if you order this. And the chipotle chutney oil? It is divine beyond words.
Truth be told, I’m not much for avocados, but Grant spotted the ingredient “scallion ash,” and knew this dish deserved a spot on our table. If you’re addicted to avocado, this one’s for you.
I have two words for you: Cashew. Parm. It’s amazing, and this is coming for a serious cheese fiend. It’s been on my to-do list to try vegan cheese, and I’m glad the cashew parmesan in this salad was my first.
Another delightfully light course, I feel like this would be an excellent last or dessert course. The spicy peanuts were an inspired addition, that really added some life to the whole dish.
While making our initial selections, Grant joked that the scallop dish must have been tailor made just for me. That’s pretty accurate, because everything about this dish involves my favorite flavor profiles and ingredients. If you like seafood, you need this in your life.
After eight other courses, we were pretty full by the time our steak arrived. But you know what? We aren’t quitters around here, and we made it happen, and man, was it delectable.
So in summary:
-Yes, it was just me & Grant at this dinner
-Yes, we consumed enough food for probably 3 or 4 people.
-No, we aren’t sorry 🙂
If you haven’t yet tried Little Octopus, it is seriously a gem and makes me want to visit all the places that inspired these flavors! I always recommend reservations as a courtesy to the restaurant, and because this establishment is rather small, I’m sure they fill up fast.
For more information on the restaurant, menu, and to make reservations, visit Little Octopus’ website at: https://www.littleoctopusnashville.com/
505 12th Avenue South Nashville, TN 37203