Enjoying The Finer Things At 212 Market

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - by Willie Mae

With Phil doing better every day, Lois and I talked him into going to dinner on a double-date with me and Lou.

We went to 212 Market on Market Street just before you get to the bridge. I don’t know what it is, but whenever we visit a restaurant that has more than just burgers and fries, Lou gets a certain air about him.

This place is a landmark restaurant and is credited in part for putting Chattanooga on the map as the city worked on its makeover more than 20 years ago. It is bigger than it looks when you are inside and, though there seems to be plenty of room, they had a good-sized crowd.

We sat down at a table and were given a cardboard menu page and a paper ‘specials’ page. Lou began his know-it-all talk about items listed on the menu because Phil and Lois don’t eat out much.

When Lou ordered the Kobe Bistro Steak for $16, Phil asked what a Kobe Steak was. Lou tried to make a joke and said that it was a ‘massagenous’ cow. None of us understood his joke so he had to explain that the cow was ‘spoiled and pampered’. I wasn’t in the mood for spoiled beef, so I kept it light and chose the half watermelon salad for $5 along with the Mediterranean appetizer for $9.

Phil ordered the shrimp and grits for $21 and Lois got the 4 oz. filet mignon for $16. This was designer food and I couldn’t begin to tell you the fancy words that described them, but I could tell the chef was an artist and this place was very proud of their food. Everyone I know loves this place and we liked it too.

Lou also got an appetizer called Rabbit Risotto for $12 and grilled gazpacho. I think he was settling in for a culinary adventure all his own.

Phil and Lou talked business even though they had been retired for nearly 20 years and Lois just sat quietly listening while I was busy taking notes.

When I asked Lou how his appetizer was I could tell he was waiting for me to ask. He should have been on one of those food shows.

He said matter-of-factly, “The gazpacho is true to its nature … as in …the ingredients of summer vegetables.  The last gazpacho I had was at an Italian restaurant and it didn’t have two of the main ingredients or the right amount of spice.”

My boney hand was barely keeping up as I tried to write down his answer to my question of “How’s your soup?” I expected as much from Lou though.

I put my pen and notebook down and Lou kept going! “It falls short of the acidity in tomato flavor, but that is probably from the roasting and grilling… I’d still give it a four out of five stars.”

Well, whoop-ti-do! I forget that Lou used to have his own restaurant, but I nearly had to get a Kleenex and wipe the fog off of my glasses from all Lou’s hot air.

Quiet Lois finally decided to chime in and tell me about her food, “My salad is a little plain.” Lois is predictable, but it was actually good to only have to jot down a few words. She likes her salad swimming in creamy dressing and she was given a light vinaigrette. Phil asked the waitress to bring Lois a little more dressing and she was happy with that.

Just then, Lou’s phone rang and he answered it – right there at the table! It’s not like he is a surgeon on call or the stock market was about to crash. I don’t understand the lack of cell phone etiquette these days, but I didn’t say a word. I just minded my own business.

My appetizer that I made my meal had artichoke, quinoa and roasted, red pepper hummus. I enjoyed it with my melon salad and it was light so I could have dessert!

A conversation erupted about how to pronounce ‘quinoa’. Lou said it was pronounced “keen-wa” but Phil disagreed.

“Well, I saw a beer commercial where a guy said he always has a ‘kweeno’ sandwich because the last time he had one, his team won… they pronounced it ‘kweeno’,” Phil said as he untucked the cloth napkin from his collar. However you pronounce it – it was delicious.

The men said they were too full for dessert, so Lois and I decided to share the Chocolate Truffle cake.

Before we dug in, Lois turned to Phil and asked if she had something green in her teeth. He told her no but she said, “I can feel it, I think it’s part of my salad.” Phil looked again and said, “Well, it hasn’t taken root.”

Phil reached for the candied coffee bean garnish on our dessert and he said that was good. The truffle cake was very rich and we could only stand to eat a couple of bites.

We had a very nice dining experience and loved our meals. I would give it a Willie Mae ‘whee-ee-doggie’ but this place was too fancy for that, so to make Lou happy, I will just say it was very ‘antidisestablishmentarianism’ … I have no idea what that means but it is the biggest word I know.


LUNCH 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. every day   

DINNER:   Mon – Thurs  5 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.  

Fri - Sat: 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.,  

Sun: 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.

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