A Visit to Knoxville’s Old City for lunch

Old City Knoxville
Looking along North Central Street

I recently made a visit to Knoxville’s Old City for lunch at Fin-Two and a stop at the Hen-Hoc Butcher Shop for steaks. The Old City area is just a short distance north and east of downtown Knoxville, and is filled with restaurants and bars, galleries, coffee shops, service providers, and retail establishments.

Fin-Two Japanese Ale House

Fin-Two offers small plates, ramen, sushi, and yakitori; as well as sake, Japanese whiskies, and local craft beer. It was a dreary rainy day so a nice bowl of ramen sounded perfect! I was meeting a friend to talk about an opportunity for me to join the board of a local organization that I’ve been a member of for many years now. It was his first visit to Fin-Two so I looked forward to introducing him to some of the finest ramen in Knoxville.

Knoxville's Old City for lunch at Fin-Two
Looking north on Central Street towards Fin-Two

Ramen for Lunch

There are three kinds of ramen on the menu. The first is a tonkatsu, which has a pork based bone broth that is simmered for 24 hours. It has a wonderfully creamy texture when done properly, and Fin-Two knows how to do it! Today I opted for chicken in the tonkatsu instead of the typical pork belly. There is a chicken bone based ramen (Tori Shio) and a vegetable based ramen (Yasai). Any of them are excellent I encourage one to try them all.

Knoxville's Old City for lunch at Fin-Two
Tonkatsu ramen with chicken instead of pork belly
Knoxville's Old City for lunch at Fin-Two
Yasai ramen

Small Plate

We also decided to try the brussels sprouts off the small plates menu. They were very good and had quite a few of the crispy leaves that are yummy!

Knoxville's Old City for lunch at Fin-Two
Incredible Brussels sprouts with Japanese seven spice and miso butter – partially devoured

Hen-Hoc Butcher & Deli

After lunch I went across the street to check out the Hen-Hoc Butcher & Deli. They opened in July of 2020 in part of what used to be the Crown and Goose gastropub. The classic rock band I played drums with had a few gigs there when it was a pub.

They carry a wide range of beef, chicken, and pork, as well as some seafood. Take a look at their instagram page to see what the daily specials are. Various handpies, and in-house made hotdogs are typically available. I left with a nice looking 120z New York strip and some gulf shrimp.

Knoxville's Old City the Hen-Hoc Butcher Shop
NY Strip from Hen-Hoc – dried and ready for salt & pepper
Knoxville's Old City the Hen-Hoc Butcher Shop
Last step of the reverse sear method – olive oil & butter

I used the reverse sear method to cook the steak, and simply steamed the already shelled and deveined shrimp with some Old Bay. A nice baked potato on the side for a nice dinner.

Come for a stay with us at The Sidecar Inn and we’ll be happy to suggest many places with a variety of cuisines.

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