Hawaii gives us the Plate Lunch, the Trans-Contintenal Railroad gave us the Blue Plate Special, but nothing matches Nashville’s world famous Meat and Three.
The plate lunch is a Hawaii/Japan fusion menu item that is a quintessential part of the cuisine of Hawaii, roughly equivalent to a meat-and-three plate. However, the inclusion of pan-Asian ingredients makes the plate lunch unique to Hawaii. Standard plate lunches consist of two scoops of white rice, a scoop of macaroni salad, and a main entrée. It is the Hawaiian version of the Japanese Bento Box.
As for the Blue Plate special, I remember that term when I was a kid in Jersey City, Daniel Rogov, in the online Culinary Corner, claims the first use of blue-plate special was on a menu of the Fred Harvey restaurants on 22 October 1892. These restaurants were built at stations to serve the travelling public on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad and it seems the blue-plate set meal was designed to rapidly serve passengers whose trains stopped only for a few minutes. He went on to say, “As to why the term ‘blue plate’ — no mystery here. Fred Harvey bought nearly all his serving plates from a company in Illinois. Modelling their inexpensive but sturdy plates after those made famous by Josiah Wedgwood … these were, of course, blue in color. Thus, quite literally, the ‘blue plate’ special”.
But…..Nashville is famous for it’s “Meat and Three”. Arnold’s(moved from the Fairgrounds area to The Gulch), Wendel Smith’s(on Charlotte Ave across from Bobbie’s Dairy Dip) , and Swett’s(on Clifton Ave and 28th Ave N.) are the most authentic altho Swett’s is considered more “Soul Food”. Today I discovered a new “Meat and Three” on Annex Ave, across from Costco.
DJ’s Pub & Grub 3736 Annex Ave Nashville,TN has been opened for less than a year. Several years ago Bonney and I and several neighbors would enjoy Friday Catfish at the same location but run by different owners. That business closed down and we somehow got out of the habit. On Friday our good neighbor Diane invited Bonney and me to catfish and we decided to try DJ’s.
It was crowded, I know why, it’s one of the few smoking-allowed restaurant and bars around. Show me a smoker and I’ll show you someone who can handle his/her whiskey and beer. The 100 foot long bar was lined up elbow to elbow, from one end to another, and this was three hours before the live music. We enjoyed the best catfish meat and three I have eaten in years. Unfortunately the smoke-laden air in the room was almost too much, but we discovered that they do a carry-out meat and three for $7.99.
We think we have discovered a carry-out place that will deliver reasonable quality at reasonable prices. If you’re too lazy to cook some night you might call (915-0440) and order a carry-out. It’s a real “Meat and Three” experience just 4 miles and 10 minutes away.