There's a new restaurant in downtown Knoxville on the 100 block of Gay Street that has won over my taste buds. Knox Mason opened this week (where Harry's used to be), and the restaurant "marries elements of traditional Southern cuisine with a vibrant, contemporary aesthetic." And I can vouch for that.
Last night I had cornmeal encrusted Sunburst trout on top of white beans with fennel and carrots. Brandon has braised short ribs with Brussels sprouts and Benton's bacon (the best bacon in America). And for dessert, we indulged in homemade banana pudding with toasted marshmallow on top -- and ate a couple of spoonfuls of our friends' apple bread pudding. (Or maybe more than a couple.)
The place is small but very warm and welcoming. There's a full bar, and you watch the chef preparing each order to perfection. The executive chef, by the way, was the sous chef for Blackberry Farm, a private chef for touring rock stars, and most recently the executive chef for the governor of Tennessee. But I'm quite glad he has a restaurant here in Knoxville now.
I can't wait to go back and try more phenomenal dishes and drinks. I hear they're opening for Sunday brunch next weekend (January 13). And Lord knows that this aging hipster loves her Sunday brunch.