When I say my favorite restaurant, I mean it.On my last visit....While we waited for our first course, we were treated to small bowls of chilled tomato soup with grilled shrimp and ramp Crème fraiche. After the first taste, my husband and I smiled at each other and settled into our seats knowing were in for a few hours of pure culinary bliss. For our first course I ordered the quail and arugula salad with radicchio, honeybells and maple glaze, sprinkled with edible flowers. Potato and ramp soup with butter poached main lobster and black truffle oil. Mouth watering yet? I always get the quail at St. Johns. It's delectable no matter how it's prepared. Wondering what a ramp is? It's an incredibly rare wild leek that only grows in the Appalachian Mountains for three weeks. It has a wonderful garlic taste and for the next while can be found throughout the St. Johns menu. I decided to be adventurous and try the leg of venison while my husband picked out a Buffalo steak. Mine was served with a gouda cornmeal souffle and marinated beets that perfectly complemented the gamey meat. The buffalo steak was absolutely divine paired with a scrumptious Béarnaise sauce. The highlight of the meal was (of course) the dessert. As soon as I knew we were going to St. Johns, all I could think was....Chocolate Pudding. Chocolate pudding at a five star restaurant? Oh, you have no idea how good this dish is. Served warm with carmel ice cream, it may be the most divine dessert I've ever tasted. I could eat at St. John's every night. Our server Catherine was wonderful, and the chef, Daniel Lindley, is pure genius. By the way, if you want to enjoy St. Johns quality food in a more casual atmosphere (and less expensive), check out The Meeting Place. I've never been, but I plan to try it out...very soon.
Have you ever fallen so in love that you are left speechless? That is how I feel sitting down to write this review. This is the second time I have been to Market 212, and it was like having another chance with a Craigslist "Missed Connections" crush: I knew we had something going before, I just needed one more chance in order to be sure. I am sure now. The first time I visited Market 212 was for their Thanksgiving meal, and such a meal it was. Cider glazed pork loin with jalapeno mashed sweet potatoes and apple cabbage slaw, with chocolate truffle cake for dessert, changed my view of what Thanksgiving could be. While I am not certain that this was the traditional meal of the Pilgrims, I think it could be held up as an example of just how far America has come in 400 years. Go progress!On this second visit, I chose to simplify, getting the roasted beet and orange salad with chicken, and sharing my mother's apple-mustard glazed pork with grilled sweet potatoes and bacon braised red cabbage. Both were fantastic. Both chicken and pork were tender, and came in generous portions, and the vegetables were fresh and crisp. I have never been a huge fan of red cabbage, but apparently even boring vegetables can gain life when braised with bacon, because my mother's cabbage was delicious. The only disappointment of the trip was when I went to order the supposedly gluten-free (shameful secret here: I can no longer eat gluten, one of the eternal sadnesses of my life) pesto chicken, and discovered that they had run out of stuffing and thus had decided to stuff it with bread. Go figure. It is very nice, however, that Market 212 goes to the effort of labeling all its gluten-free options on the menu.
I fell for one of the oldest tricks in the book: Calling something a bistro so that you can charge three times as much for the food as you normally would.Don't get me wrong: The venue was beautiful. The wine rack was beautiful. The food was beautiful. Individuals with an overdeveloped sense of sight and no real taste differentiation should absolutely consider this as a hot spot. However, as someone who was hoping for more of a culinary than a visual feast, I was rather disappointed.It is my understanding that $36 bacon-wrapped scallops should feature sizzling, perfectly-crispy bacon wrapped around fresh, lightly seasoned scallops. However, Terramae's understanding seemed to be that at least three quarters of that $36 should go towards purchasing salt for the dish, which seemed to be designed to cover up the fishy taste of the scallops (and not the good kind of fishy, where fish tastes like delicious cold-water fish, but rather the kind where it tastes as though the fish has been raised off the shores of New Jersey and too frequently visits the underwater radioactive tanning bed). My mother's steak was also buried under a mound of salt sufficient to de-ice the streets of Nashville during this current winter blizzard.The food was not horrible--it was fine. However, for the price it cost, I expected a whole lot more than a pretty environment and some salt.
Just moved to Chattanooga in August of 2015. Found St. John's Meeting Place on line. So far, BY FAR, our best dining experience in Chattanooga, TN. Great food from the appetizer, entre, and desert! Everything was fabulous and this is no joke! Joe, our server did an excellent job of making sure we were taken care of. Great wine list! This is an EXCELLENT restaurant that I would recommend to everyone!