The Breakdown – Eastland Cafe

My at-home take on Eastland’s Goat Cheese Brulee.

You can pretty much ask any of my friends and family and they will tell you that my favorite restaurant is Eastland Cafe in East Nashville.  When Drew and I lived there we spent the better of 3 or 4 nights a week enjoying what is arguably the BEST happy hour in town.  Now that we are a little more than walking distance to our “Cheers” and are a bit restricted by a precious little boy, a dinner at Eastland is truly a treat.

“The Breakdown” has now gone to print monthly with Nashville Lifestyles Magazine and I knew I wanted the first article to feature Eastland Cafe.  Chef Paul Wright and his super fun crew invited me into their kitchen so I could get the breakdown on how to make two of my favorite menu items.  Each and EVERY time we eat there, I order the Goat Cheese Brulee.  Holy Goat Cheese it’s GOOD, so there was NO question that I would try my luck at getting that recipe!  We love steamed mussels and as tasty as they are, they are surprisingly easy to make, but I wanted a professional lesson to make sure my steaming skills were in tact and get some tips on how I could muscle up the flavor of my mussels by learning how to make their Bring ’em Back Mussels dish.

I felt so official in my white apron and nothing will beat getting to use a blow torch in their kitchen to brulee the goat cheese.  The goat cheese dish is perfect for a quick appetizer, but Eastland uses homemade pizza dough for the grilled bread slices and slow fire roasted tomatoes which take a little time to prepare, so when I made it at home I sided with Semi Homemade Sandra Lee and swapped the dough for flatbread and used jarred roasted red peppers.  I’m so excited that I now have these two insanely good recipes to cook at home, but I have to admit nothing beats the real thing at Eastland.

Goat Cheese Brulee

An at-home take on my favorite appetizer at Eastland Cafe in East Nashville.


  • 4 oz local goat cheese, room temperature
  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • Local honey
  • Flat bread
  • Extra virgin olive oil or compound butter
  • Jar roasted red peppers
  • Finely chopped fresh chives or basil for garnish


  1. In a large bowl combine goat cheese and cream cheese and stir until fully combined. Meanwhile, heat a cast-iron grill pan over high heat in the oven at 500 degrees (or a gas stove top). Cut flatbread into slices and brush with olive oil or compound butter. Grill until crisp or approximately 2-3 minutes per side.
  2. Using a 4 oz ice cream scoop, scoop cheese mixture onto a platter. Drizzle honey over cheese and let run down sides. With either a culinary torch or small blow torch, carefully caramelize the honey to a brulee consistency. Serve with grilled flatbread and red peppers.


Eastland serves their brulee with homemade grilled pizza dough and fresh roasted red peppers. Flatbread and jarred roasted red peppers cuts down on prep time and still keeps the dish similar to how it is served at Eastland.

Goat Cheese Brulee as deliciously served at Eastland Cafe.

Eastland Cafe’s Bring ‘Em Back Mussels.

Bring 'Em Back Mussels with Grilled Tuscan Bread


  • 1 lb fresh mussels
  • 1 cup white wine
  • ¼ cup seafood stock
  • ½ tbsp or more fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 small shallot, julienned
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup (or ½ cup) grape tomatoes, sliced
  • ½ stick butter
  • 1 cup Arugula
  • ½ tbsp Fine Herbs (finely chopped equal parts parsley, chives, tarragon, chervil)
  • For the Grilled Tuscan Bread!
  • Fresh Tuscan bread slices
  • Compound butter (room temperature butter)
  • Chopped fresh herbs (i.e. oregano, thyme, tarragon, rosemary, etc.)


  1. Soak mussels in distilled water with salt and ice for 10 minutes. Strain and rinse mussels. Pull beard from the crevice of mussel in the same fashion you would remove the vein from fresh shrimp. If they are open or cracked at this point discard those.
  2. In a large sauté pan, sweat garlic and shallots in 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Watch garlic closely as to not burn. Add tomatoes and sauté an additional 2 minutes with garlic and shallots. Carefully add wine and seafood stock and allow to reduce over high heat for about 3 minutes. Add butter and allow to melt.
  3. Add mussels to wine mixture and reduce heat to medium. Place lid, foil or metal bowl over mussels and allow to steam until just open, approximately 3-5 minutes. As they open, take them out and place in a bowl as the other mussels open as to not overcook. Toss with arugula and fine herbs and serve in a bowl with grilled Tuscan bread and wine sauce from the pan.
  4. For the Grilled Tuscan Bread!
  5. Combine butter and herbs and brush each side of the bread. Grill on high for about 2 minutes per side.

And an apron makes me official!

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  1. That looks so delicious! I have been hinting for a kitchen torch forever. I think hubby is finally getting the clue 🙂

  2. …and I did try this too! Love it! Fancy, delish, and torch….my husband use, one he had in garage forever
    Thank you Amanda again

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