On the way back from enjoying Thanksgiving with my family in Nashville, my wife asked me if I wanted to stop for dinner in Crossville. We'd never eaten dinner in Crossville, and based on having lunch there during a couple of work visits, I wasn't hopeful, and said so. Still, I pulled out my iPhone and checked TripAdvisor to see what the top-rated restaurants in Crossville were, and had my lack of hope confirmed when Cracker Barrel was listed as #1. Still, I saw what looked like a purely local place, Forte's on the Square, listed as #2, so we decided to give it a shot. After a false start caused by our car's clock being on Eastern Time but Crossville being on Central which left us sitting in our car for 15 minutes, we walked inside and were seated. Our server made a great impression right off the bat. We sometimes let our son watch a movie on his iPad when we eat out - and I know, that makes us terrible parents. She glanced at the iPad as she walked up and declared in an excited voice, "Oh! Planes Fire & Rescue! I haven't seen that but I really want to!" That made our son smile and us along with him.
I rarely mention the bread a restaurant serves in one of my reviews, and mostly that's because the bread is usually just there as filler and not worthy of comment. The bread at Forte's was anything but unworthy. It was light, flavorful, and so good that I almost asked for a second loaf. The butter was outstanding as well.
For our son we ordered one of his staples, Mac & Cheese. This was the best kids mac & cheese I've ever seen, and some of the best mac & cheese I've ever had. As we ordered his meal first and it came out a few minutes before our dishes, I'm not ashamed to admit that I sat there waiting for him to look away and transferred a few bites at a time over to my bread plate. In fact, the main reason I almost ordered more bread was because the cheese was so outstanding that it made a perfect dip for the bread. I'd love to see that as an appetizer next time we stop there - two loaves of bread and a small cup of the cheese for dipping.
My wife ordered one of her staples, Chicken Parmesan. She let me have a bite of it and I thought it was fairly good, but chicken parmesan isn't one of my favorite dishes. She really liked it, and shared a few bites of it with our son, along with some of the broccoli.
I was torn as to what to order, and again our server impressed us. I told her I couldn't decide between the Chicken Alfredo or the Pork Chops. She said that both were excellent, but in her opinion, pork chops were not that common at restaurants, so she'd go with them. But she solved my dilemma by offering to substitute pasta for my baked potato, and said she would be happy to put the Alfredo sauce on it for me. I took her up on that, and in fact my wife asked to do the same substitution for her potato. The pork chops were quite good, and the honey balsamic glaze they were served with was exceptional - both simple and full of flavor.
Here's a picture of the pasta each of us received. It is no shame to say that while we liked our pasta, we both loved our son's mac & cheese more. I would rank this Alfredo sauce better than most in Knoxville, with only Savelli's beating it out, and not by a wide margin. Since I'd eaten a decent portion of our son's mac & cheese and because I'd seen homemade desserts listed on the menu, I left about half of my pasta and my wife left about three quarters of hers uneaten. That I asked for a to-go box, something I almost never do, is an indication of how good the pasta and sauce were.
When our server brought out the dessert tray, which included several kinds of cheesecake, as well as a "Death by Chocolate" cake and a Coconut Cake, my wife wasn't sure what to get. She and my son really love chocolate, so the cake was a possibility, but there was also an Oreo cheesecake, with chocolate sauce drizzled over it. Our server again helped out, offering to be generous with the chocolate sauce. My wife said the cheesecake itself was quite good, and she was glad our server added the extra chocolate, because she felt there wasn't enough Oreo topping. She also commented that she liked the crust itself, which is unusual for her.
My choice was simpler. I would prefer plain cheesecake every time, but that wasn't an option and I'm not fond of chocolate desserts. So I took the each option seasonal option - Pumpkin cheesecake. I can't say the cheesecake blew me away, but it was good, and I take every opportunity I can during this time of year to eat pumpkin-based desserts, so I was happy to have it.
All in all, we were very happy with our first stop in Crossville for dinner, and we'll be making an effort to eat at Forte's on the Square again the next time we're heading back to Knoxville. On that note, do keep in mind that while Forte's is open for lunch Tuesday through Friday, its website lists it as being open for dinner only on Friday and Saturday.
This is post 30 in the #NaBloWriMo #vDM30in30 30 Day Blog Challenge