Spicing Up SoKno
The Landing House brings South Asian delights and a chill vibe to the southern waterfront.
In the early 1900s, a streetcar line was extended across the Gay Street Bridge and along the waterfront to the planned suburb of Island Home Park. Around that time a Craftsman-style home was built at 1147 Sevier Avenue, just where it bends to the right before the left turn onto Island Home Avenue.
Around 110 years later, South Knoxville residents Zach and Hao Land bought the house, which had most recently housed the Tennessee Wing of the Civil Air Patrol. The Lands took the house down to the studs and left the original wood floors, woodwork, and elegant fireplaces. They renovated it as a restaurant, with tables in the front room, a bar with craft beers on tap in the parlor, and seating for 50 upstairs.
The restaurant takes its name from the nearby Suttree’s Landing Park, named after Cornelius Suttree, the title character in Knoxville author Cormac McCarthy’s novel Suttree.
Zach, a Seymour native and a former Jupiter Entertainment producer, earned his restaurant chops working at LaCosta, LaPerigo, and the Orangery. Hao, a Chattanoogan of Cambodian descent, developed a family style of Cambodian cooking, borrowing from northern and southern Chinese cuisine. They opened in July of 2018.
Landing House has a neighborly feeling that fits nicely into the unpretentious Island Home family atmosphere. The sense of history almost makes diners feel that a trolley (or Cornelius Suttree himself) might come rolling by at any moment. Walk through the foyer and turn left into the beautifully restored bar. With a wide variety of craft beers and unique cocktails, Landing House is a terrific place to meet and catch up with friends.
Waiters are attentive and enthusiastically knowledgeable about the various dishes, their ingredients, and preparation.
Both vegetarians and vegans will find plenty of choices in the small plates, including Fried Vegetable Spring Rolls ($5), with cabbage, onion, carrot, bean vermicelli noodles, and sweet chili sauce. Meat eaters can try the pork version, which were crisp and aromatic.
Don’t miss the delicate tofu skin dumplings, stuffed with pork, bamboo shoots, shiitake, scallions and served over jasmine rice. The vegan Tofu Skin Dumplings ($7) include earthy wood-ear mushrooms and water chestnuts and are very satisfying.
If you love Pho, Hao offers many choices with her classic Cambodian Pho (pronounced “fuh”) of rice noodles in a Superior Broth. It can come with a choice of beef or chicken ($8), or in several combos—1, with beef and meatballs ($10); 2, with chicken and shrimp ($10); 3, with beef and enoki mushrooms ($10); and 4, ($15) with beef, chicken, shrimp and enoki mushrooms. The Vegan Pho ($12) comes with Gai Lan (Chinese broccoli) leaves, tofu, mushrooms, and rice noodles in a vegan broth.
Diners will find lots to choose from including steamed or fried jasmine rice combos—1, with Char sui pork, carrots, onion, tomato, sriracha mayo; 2, with chicken, Gai Lan, shiitake, carrots, and hot honey mustard; 3, with tofu, carrots, zucchini, bamboo shoots, and mustard; and 4, with ribeye, shrimp, shiitake, onions, Gai Lan leaves, and Sriracha Mayo.
There is a Chinese saying that can be loosely translated to, “There is no satisfaction without noodles,” which describes our table favorite: Fresh Knife Cut Noodles ($13) with braised pork, fire-roasted bell-peppers, Baby Bok Choy and XO sauce. The perfectly tender noodles offset a rich and savory pan sauce.
A delightfully light and fresh Rice Vermicelli Salad ($14) is served with beef, carrots, radishes, sesame soy bean sprouts, mint, basil in a lemongrass citrus dressing; The traditional Pork Belly ($20) comes with the “house favorite” Brussels sprouts. Our server said, “I’d work here just for the Brussels sprouts,” and after tasting them, we understood what she meant. Crispy rice balls are a nice accompaniment to the Pan-seared Cod ($18) in caper brown butter and served with ratatouille. Meat-lovers can choose the eight-ounce ribeye ($20).
Zach’s mother, Linda Land, makes the desserts. It will be hard to choose among the Coconut Tapioca topped with mixed berry puree ($6) or the Ginger Almond Cake with Chocolate Ganache ($6). She also makes the ice cream offered in flavors of Jasmine tea, Vietnamese coffee, Lemon Lavender, Coffee, Sweet Corn coconut or Caramel Popcorn.
Prices are reasonable, which makes Landing House a nice regular place for a meal. Happy Hour (Monday evenings and Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday until 6 p.m.) specials feature $1 off drafts, $1 off starters, and a half-price Rice Combo 1.
There is parking on the street and at nearby Suttree’s Landing Park.
1147 Sevier Ave
Knoxville, TN 37920