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Eating at Elemental


This post was written by Dava Stewart and Laura Howard, who are friends, long-time Chattanooga residents, and fans of delicious food. They visited Elemental on Tuesday, July 8.

Sometimes things become trendy because they are good. One of those things is the locavore, or farm to table movement. If you’ve never eaten a Elemental Salad strawberry, still warm from the sun, while standing outside, you’ve missed a miracle. The fresher the food, the better, we say! Elemental, on the North Shore is a restaurant that provides the freshest food possible by working with local suppliers.

Three of us–Dava, Laura, and Laura’s husband Carey–had dinner there on a Tuesday night, not too long ago. It was a belated birthday dinner celebration for Laura. Eating at Elemental is, for us, a special treat rather than a regular Tuesday night dinner. It’s a little pricier than many other options. Laura’s birthday seemed like a good reason for a special treat!

We started with drinks—Sparkling Lemonade (an alcoholic and non-alcoholic version) and a Moscow Mule, both from their nicely equipped bar. Not only do they have numerous cocktail, wine, and beer selections, but the local flavor is also a feature of their drinks, including Pure Sodaworks, Chattanooga Brewing Company, and Chattanooga Whiskey.

Next, we ordered a salad to share–grilled watermelon, beet, brussel leaves, fresh mint, and housemade ricotta. We all three shared the salad, and it was delicious. Grilled watermelon is unusual, but very tasty — and went well with the sparkling lemonade. It was the perfect salad to complement the hot, humid summer.

For our entrees, Carey had the burger with homemade pickles, a slice of local tomato, and a side of roasted red potatoes. He ate it all and made “mmmymmgoood” sounds while he ate, so we assume it was a delicious burger. Laura had a dish she has eaten often here–the seared chicken breast with a myriad of in-season, local vegetables. It was a substantial portion of food that she tried to share with Dava and Carey, who were both enjoying their own meals too much to take her up on the offer.

Finally, Dava ordered the Farmers’ Market Vegetable Plate.There was a delicious grit and cheese fritter, mashed celery root, creamed corn, creamed sweet potato, spicy greens, and grilled squash. The presentation was beautiful, but paled compared to the taste!  Laura and Carey always joke that when they need to veggie-load, they go to Elemental for the vegetable plate. After eating it all, Dava decided the only veggie plate that is better is one with food from her own garden.

We skipped dessert this particular evening — mostly because we were all absolutely stuffed.

It is perplexing why Elemental has struggled to find it footing in Chattanooga. It’s in a fantastic location — Laura and Carey walked to Whole Foods to do their grocery shopping after dinner — and the atmosphere is comfortable. People who love great local food and a casual atmosphere should give it a try. Eating at Elemental supports the Chattanooga economy and the local food shed, but most importantly, they serve excellent food.