Last week we learned that Rolf and Daughters made the cut in Bon Appétit magazine's list of 50 Best New Restaurants in America. Today we learned that the list's compiler, Andrew Knowlton, ranked it not just on the top 10 list, but at No. 3.
Anybody who's ever been to chef Philip Krajeck's cozy, bustling restaurant in the redeveloped Werthan Mills factory in Germantown won't be surprised to hear that "The Art of Pasta" is the title of the video Bon Appétit posted about Rolf and Daughters. (Of course, the other items on Krajeck's menu are pretty darn good, too.) Also not surprising: Knowlton says he was so knocked out by his bowl of garganelli verde that he didn't even notice all the celebrities in the room.
Read Knowlton's piece after the jump:
I'm starting to think that chef Philip Krajeck was put on earth to make pasta. Let's look at the evidence: He happened to live between two Italian families while growing up in Brussels, Belgium. One night he'd be eating gnocchi with fresh porcini with one family, cacio e pepe with the other the next. Later, he worked in a Swiss kitchen surrounded by Italian cooks. That's where he learned how to form the twisted pasta called strozzapreti ("priest-strangler"), among other shapes.
Lord knows I've eaten my fair share of pasta dishes around the country this year (it seems that tough economic times call for a big, comforting bowl of noodles). But when I tried Krajeck's takes, like the earthy hand-cut farro gemelli with mushrooms, kale, and Parmesan that he serves at Rolf and Daughters, his rowdy neighborhood restaurant in Nashville's up-and-coming Germantown area, I was mesmerized. His rustic sauces and house-made doughs—some flavored with whole grain flours, others, like the garganelli verde, green from fresh spinach—are standouts in a crowded field. How do I express how good they were? Let's just say my friend had to tell me about all the Nashville music celebrities I didn't notice the night we were there. Apparently, my eyes were on the real stars. —Andrew Knowlton