As I mentioned in many blog posts, I spent a weekend in Nashville a couple of weeks ago. It was a girls weekend trip planned last June to run the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon. Although we had pretty horrible weather for the trip, I was glad to experience Nashville’s delicious food!
Whenever I travel to new places, I like to have a good grasp on the city: popular bars, good restaurants, the streets that you need to walk on, or the beautiful parks. This time around I wasn’t as prepared as I wanted to be. But with the amount of rain falling on the city, I was just fine with exploring the great food and music.
There are many bars such as this one on Broadway, filled with local beers, live music, and an entertaining crowd. Don’t worry, that was a box the girls and I definitely checked off- but we also wanted to try delicious food!
My friend Becky, who resides in Boston and is a new blogger, and I flew into Nashville on Thursday before everyone else. Back in the January issue of Food & Wine, we noticed Top 10 Plates of Nashville. After browsing the menus and reviews, we chose Lockeland Table as our Thursday girly date night location.
Lockeland Table opened in August of 2012, so it’s a fairly new restaurant- but I couldn’t tell that by the excellent service and delicious dishes. The building used to be a small grocery store, and Chef Hal Holden-Bache and General Manager Cara Graham wanted to keep some of the historical details- the original phone number, the 30-foot rafters, and they even replicated a similar sign that once hung in the original store. The ambiance is relaxing and intimate, with a wood-fire oven as the centerpiece of the room, a repurposed original stamped-tin ceiling, and the recovered barn wood decorating the space.
The restaurant is situated in the East Nashville residential district, a couple of miles away from the bars and music halls. We took a cab ride from the Sheraton, where we were staying, and it was about $10- definitely worth the trip! Per website recommendation “reservations are highly recommended”, we had made one about 2 months ago!
The menu is local, with purveyors for produce and meat given credit on the menu, and seasonally inspired, which makes it hard to choose your dish- but that’s a good problem to have! The low-carbon footprint extends to the bar, with just American vodkas, local bourbon and whiskey, as well as Tennessee beers such as Yazoo, Fat Bottom and Jackalope. There are a couple of exceptions, the bar does have scotch and international wines.
Chicken Liver Pâté in a Jar: Benton’s bacon fat, grilled Tuscan bread, and smoked peach preserves
The pâté is served in a small mason jar, with the layer of bacon fat on top. The liver was smooth and velvety. The thick-cut grilled toasts are perfect for the spread, and the overturned lid holds the smoky preserves.
Cox Farms Roasted Bone Marrow: grilled Tuscan bread, Italian parsley, pickled red onion salad
The pickled onion isn’t just there for decoration, it’s to add to the dish. Interestingly enough, it is pickled by Holden-Bache’s mom, his friends, and himself from his garden! Rubbing the marrow on the crisp toast, and sprinkling with parsley and pickled onions, was dazzling and finger-licking delicious! The straight-forward presentation fit the ambiance of Lockeland Table.
Carolina Mountain Trout with Honey Bourbon Glaze: spring hash, lemon spring cream, crispy prosciutto
Although the trout is always on the menu, the sides depend on the season- the start of spring is vivid with the fresh green peas, light cream and dill. The trout was perfectly seared with a crispy skin, not overwhelmingly heavy, but still full of flavor.
Steak and Frites with Roasted Tomato Aioli: Hereford hanger steak with balsamic, cipollini butter, arugula
The steak was cooked just as I asked, medium rare. Seared, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The aioli was balanced, rich and savory- great to spread on the steak, or to dip your fries into!
We were too full for dessert- but the sweet ricotta doughnuts and the rhubarb strusel cake did catch my eye. I think this just means we have to visit Nashville for another (sunny) weekend!