700 Thompson Lane
Nashville, TN 37204
Mon – Sat: 11:00am – 9:00pm
Sunday: 11:30am – 8:30pm
How would you define your favorite restaurant? Is it your “go to” restaurant where you eat one or more times a month? Or is it that restaurant where you celebrate life’s special moments? I imagine it’s different for everyone.
If you go with the latter definition, I suppose our favorite restaurant would have to be Calypso Cafe. Calypso has three locations in the Nashville area, and we’ve visited two of them – often. We eat there once a month, at least.
The style of food at Calypso is Caribbean-influenced. From their Lucayan Salad (leaf lettuce, chicken breast, mandarin oranges, toasted almonds, and vinaigrette dressing) to their Quarter Chicken with Jerk Sauce, you can almost feel the tradewinds as you enjoy your meal.
Other menu items of note are the Black Bean Salad, which is a salad version of the Black Bean Nachos (less chips/add lettuce), and the Island Burger, which is a Caribbean-spiced burger cooked on the rotisserie and served with their great barbecue sauce on the side. For a complete menu, visit http://www.calypsocafe.com/menu.htm.
Calypso has been in business for over 24 years, and over that time, they’ve built a clientele full of regulars. If you go very often, they will soon learn what you like to eat and drink, if not your name.
Like everyone else, we tend to eat the same things over and over, and we are especially bad about that at Calypso Cafe. Michelle and I typically split the Loaded Black Bean Nachos with everything. By everything, they mean black bean dip, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, jalapeños, sour cream, and red onions. You choose the meat. We typically go with ground beef, but the chicken is good, as well. If you’re doing the vegetarian thing, you can swap the meat for rice. We’ve actually had the dish prepared this way, and it’s very good. Either way, the dish comes with barbecue sauce, which I recommend dumping all over your food.
We also get small house salads, which consist of leaf lettuce, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, and red onions. It’s served with their famous house vinaigrette dressing, which is creamy and has a touch of citrus. A tip for the first-timer: ask you server to bring your salad on a large plate. If you don’t, the salad will be served on a small plate, and you’ll lose a good portion of your food while trying to eat it.
David long ago graduated from kid’s meals, even though he is still within the age range. Since moving up to the regular menu, he seems to be stuck on the Quarter/Half Chicken (all white) with the Jamaican Curry Sauce. The curry is sweet and mild. It’s made with apples, onions, and spices. If you’re looking for full-on Indian curry, this is not the sauce for you. If, however, you like a sweet curry, then give it a try. Alternately, you could choose the barbecue sauce (the same one they put on the nachos), which is all natural and has a sweet Caribbean flavor. There is also a Jerk sauce if you want something a little more (okay, a LOT more) spicy.
With the chicken, you can choose two sides. I recommend the black beans with sour cream and onions, although David usually leaves off the onions. The St. Lucian Rice is also a good choice. It is a blend of wild and long-grain rices. The Spiced Sweet Potatoes are also an excellent option. Imagine your aunt’s sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving, only your aunt lives in St. Thomas and serves her sweet potatoes with Caribbean spices and tops them with coconut. Fantastic!
Now, what to drink? For some reason, we usually go for lunch, so only rarely do I have a beer with my food. They do, however, serve beer. You can choose from a selection of domestics and imports, although Red Stripe is their featured beer. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
If you like fruit tea, you must try the fruit tea at Calypso. It’s some of the best we’ve had. No mint or any other garnishments, just good fruit flavor. David drinks it full-strength, while Michelle and I cut ours with unsweet tea. We somehow feel a little less guilty drinking it this way.
If fruit tea is not your thing, they offer “regular” tea, spiced hot tea, spiced coffee, and soft drinks.
On this day, when ordering our usual meal, the total bill was $30.00 with tax and tip. Make time to visit Calypso Cafe and treat yourself to one of the best – and freshest – meals you’ve had.