Rolf and Daughters Set for Soft Opening Wednesday


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After several months of construction and two nights of working out the kinks this week with "friends and family" events, Philip Krajeck's restaurant Rolf and Daughters is finally just about ready to fling open the front doors at 700 Taylor St. at the Werthen Lofts. Krajeck, who Dana introduced most of Nashville to a few months back, is a James Beard award-nominated chef with experience cooking at Fish Out of Water, the restaurant at the WaterColor Inn in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., and at Manhattan's Gramercy Tavern.

His goal is to create a comfortable, unpretentious neighborhood hangout where patrons will want to dine several times per week to experience the changing menu. Both the design of the restaurant space and Krajeck's menu development demonstrate what he calls a common sense approach to fine dining. "We want to cook the food that we like to eat and stock the bar with things that we like to drink." The small, but focused wine list emphasizes Old World styles at affordable prices, and Krajeck aims to rotate the wines seasonally to match the morphing menu. "We want to build a relationship of trust with our customers, so that they'll take our advice and occasionally try something new."

The gorgeous dining room also emphasizes a sense of community with long rows of banquettes encouraging diners to meet their neighbors and two communal ten-top tables which will be used for walk-ups and normally not eligible for reservations. In an effort to temper the acoustics of the high ceilings, exposed brick and tall windows of the space, the ceiling of Rolf and Daughters is covered with rough hewn sawmill scraps of lumber from the same craftsmen who built all the restaurant's 76 seats.

I've seen a draft menu, and it really looks spectacular. Krajeck will print the menu in-house so that he can change it at his whim based on his latest farmers market finds. Highlights will include house-made squid ink pasta served with gulf shrimp, squid and chorizo, and other pasta dishes like spaghetti carbonara with guanciale and black pepper and Spinach Garganelli with heritage pork ragout, pecorino. There will be small plates for snacking and plenty of vegetarian options as well. Main dishes revolve around seafood and heritage breed meats. Most entrees will be less than $23 with many options in the $12-$15 range.

Chef Krajeck also plans a nightly special which will be available off-menu until the kitchen runs out. I won't give away the details so that diners can be surprised by their first experience, but I will reveal that I will probably be arm wrestling Vivek Surti for one of the limited numbers of these dishes on a weekly basis. (And I will most probably lose...)

Although Rolf and Daughters may seem to be in a remote location with no dedicated parking lot, intrepid diners will quickly realize that it is really only about a minute past the Nashville Farmers' Market and just a couple minutes from the interstate at the Rosa Parks exit. There is plenty of street parking on Taylor Street, so you shouldn't have to walk far to enjoy this new gem in the local restaurant crown. Wednesday's opening is still a soft one, so be gentle for the first couple of weeks while they get up to speed, but don't feel like you need to wait it out completely. Krajeck has plenty of experience as a restaurateur and a whole lot of friends pitching in to make Rolf and Daughters a success.


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