The Tennessee Truffle
Thank you to Leon Konieczny, foodie, food blogger and passionate Sanfordite for his very first article on Sanford365! Check out his foodie blog Central Florida’s Good Eats. Leon and Jessica visited the newest kid on the block, The Tennessee Truffle today for a taste test. As usual, Jessica, owner of Benevolence Photo, took the most amazing photos of the venue, food and people!
Sanford is about to get another fine restaurant added to the local dining scene. The Tennessee Truffle (125 W. 1 st St.) opens this coming Tuesday, May 24th . It’s Sanford’s first “pop-up” restaurant, but if successful, they’ll be around a lot longer than a month—much longer.
The Tennessee Truffle prides themselves in using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. They then base their menu on what’s available, so expect the menu to be constantly changing and evolving. I was able to sample some of their opening day menu, and based on this, I predict a long and happy future for them in beautiful, historic, downtown Sanford.
First up I tried the Osceola Cream Corn. I love a good cream corn, and this meets that criteria—it was excellent. They hand-cut the corn from cobs of local corn (in season right now). Some of it gets pureed, and all of it gets slow cooked with a bit of onion and a touch of cream.
To that they add pickled ramps (pickled ramps = Tennessee truffle, so now you get the connection), and top with a dash of espelette pepper (a cornerstone of Basque cuisine, look it up). The flavors all melded well. The touch of heat (and it’s a gentle heat) from the espelette really complicated the sweetness and milkiness of the corn which was tender, but not mushy. I’ll take one to go, please.
Next up was the Anson Mills Antebellum Grits, topped with a slight sprinkle of sorghum sugar and chives. The grits were superb, cooked to perfection, smooth and creamy with still a bit of texture. These are not your run-of- the-mill grits—the Anson Millls grits are course-ground and so maintain an uneven but appetizing texture. The slight sweetness of the Tennessee sorghum syrup along with the freshness of the chives was just the perfect note to compliment the creamy grits. Well done.
One of these to go, too, please. Oh, by the way, Anson Mills, based in South Carolina, is a Certified Organic Processor of various southern heirloom grains and the like.
I also sampled the Glazed Roasted Carrots. Yellow and orange carrots were roasted and glazed with a Tennessee honey glaze seasoned with mustard seed, chives, and tarragon. Another hit. The carrots were tender, but still maintained a slight bit of crunch, cooked perfectly. The honey (local Lommerse Honey from Sanford) only served to highlight the natural sweetness of the carrots. Yumm. Put one of these on my order as well.
Next we had a Bibb Lettuce Salad, but certainly not your ordinary salad. Fresh Bibb lettuce was lightly dressed with a sherry vinaigrette and accompanied with sliced fresh cherry tomatoes, watermelon radish, and homemade biscuit croutons (yes, they make their own biscuits from scratch, too). It was accompanied by an on-the- side schmear of goat cheese which was blended with lemon and fresh herbs—delicious in and of itself. The lettuce had an exceptionally fresh taste, like it was just picked. Definitely not at all like your run-of- the-mill restaurant side salad. You can put two of these on my to-go order, please.
Last of all we were treated to a Local Chicken Salad. Local chickens are cut up and confitted (to confit = to cook in their own fat) which makes for exceptionally flavorful and moist, tender meat. The white meat is then mixed with a minimum of dressing and a few seasonings, just enough to hold it together, and served on a homemade biscuit, topped with a bit of yellow heirloom tomato and just a bit of dressed lettuce. This dish was also a hit. The chicken is the real star of this dish and it was perfectly cooked, tender and flavorful. Put two of these on my to-go order to, please.
About The Tennessee Truffle
The Tennessee Truffle is the brainchild of Chef Nat Russell who was most recently the executive chef at Winter Park’s Café de France. Along with Chef Rob, they been working for the past month revamping and remodeling this relatively small space (seats maybe 38 or so) in downtown Sanford. The kitchen is new, and the restaurant décor speaks of the south. Their specialty and passion is good quality southern food made with southern and local fresh ingredients.
Their initial plan is to be open for breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Sunday. Based on what I tasted today, they’ll have some lines and some waits, but food this good is sure waiting for. The Tennessee Truffle is Sanford’s first pop-up restaurant. The initial commitment is only for a month, but if it’s successful — and I predict it will be — Chef Nat plans on becoming a permanent fixture to the Sanford dining scene. Once that happens, they plan to apply for a café license (sidewalk seating) as well.
Sanford is booming. Welcome! I can’t wait to try the full menu now.
The Tennessee Truffle opens early on Tuesday May 24th from 7am-2pm and those will be the hours as well weekly Tuesdays through Saturdays. They are closed on Sundays and Mondays. Follow them on their Facebook page to know what they’re up to.
Get there early on Tuesday, and be prepared for some excellent fresh local good eats!
Here’s what Jessica thought about her experience at The Tennessee Truffle:
I had the absolute pleasure of getting a behind the scenes look and taste at the brand new “pop up” restaurant, which could stick around depending on how much love you all show them and can I just say you’re not going to want them to leave Sanford!
I met with Nat and Rob, two very personable guys who made me feel like I was hanging out at a friend’s house. They were laid back and fun to joke around with. The boys cooked us up a few dishes to taste and I LOVED them all! I’ll allow Leon to give you the insight on each dish, but I just have to say one quick thing. Coming from a girl who has never been a big fan of grits, to any chef that can have someone such as myself who is not a big fan of something when they walk in the door and then leave the restaurant wanting A BIG HEAPING POT of grits is a new favorite chef of mine. Everything that was placed on our table was fresh and delicious! The atmosphere is laid back with modern southern decor and again the boys just make you feel right at home.
I hope that everyone will head over to Tennessee Truffle on 1st street next week and show them some Sanford LOVE!!!