Hands down the number one question I get asked by you guys is my recommendations for what to do when traveling to Nashville. Well today I am SO excited to kick-off my Nashville Travel Series where I will be sharing all of my favorite place to eat + stay and play here in Nashville. My first Nashville hot spot to share with you guys is one of our favorite restaurants, The Southern. It is always one of the first restaurants I recommend when people ask where they should eat in Nashville. It is located in a really cool area of downtown called SoBro, which is a fancy way of saying South of Broadway. If you have never been to Nashville, Broadway is the main entertainment strip of Nashville where all the great honky tonks and live music is found. While you might think this area is super touristy, it really is a must see when you come here and the best part of The Southern is that it is a place where locals and out-of-towners a like can mingle.
The Southern is part of TomKats, a company that owns several great restaurants here in Nashville. Led by Executive Chef Matt Farley, The Southern is all about accessible food made with the highest quality ingredients. That is what I love about this restaurant. It is all about your favorite southern dishes with a twist and all made with literally the best ingredients you can find. Can I get an AMEN!? You can totally come as you are, roll in from listening to live music on Broadway or come dressed up for date night. It is so laid back and super unpretentious.
Here is the cool thing about Nashville, it didn't used to be the foodie destination it has become. When Chef Matt left New York to come to Nashville to pursue a better work life balance he even said that he totally felt like he was leaving the big leagues and was headed to the minors. After training at the French Culinary Institute and working his way up in some of the best kitchens in New York, he thought that his best culinary days might be behind him. But in the past 8 years Nashville's food culture has totally changed and a huge part of that is thanks to people like Matt Farley and organizations like TomKats. But enough yapping, let's start talking about the food.
So when Steve and I go, we typically like to belly up to the bar and have some of their oysters. Their oysters are so fresh and are literally on your plate less than 24 hours after being in the water. WHAT?!? In fact, that is how all their seafood is. They have cut the middle man out so they are able to have their seafood flown in and delivered as fresh as it could possibly be.
So if you are going to be at the bar, I have to recommend a couple of cocktails that I really love there. My absolute favorite is called the Zydeco. I love spicy things, so if you are like me this is the perfect drink for you. It is made with mango rum and fresh jalapenos. So good. One of their most popular drinks is the Kendall's Cup which is a delicious combination of vodka, strawberries and sparkling wine. If you are a Moscow Mule lover then you have to try the Coarse Hair Southern Mule for a southern twist on a classic. Which by the way is a great way to describe everything on their menu.
For starters, I highly recommend the smoked hard boiled eggs and the steak biscuits. The steak biscuits are made with filet mingnon and home made biscuits and are out of this world. I absolutely love deviled eggs, so I am obsessed with the Devil of an Egg appetizer. The eggs are hardwood smoked, which sounds weird but just trust me, and served with pepper jelly and pickled vegetables....see that southern thing again.
They have so many amazing entree's that it was really hard to pick just one; however, I am a fish girl at heart so my hands down favorite is the Fish and Grits. Oh my gosh! So FREAKING good. If you are a fish lover like me this is an absolute must order. The type of fish changes based on what is freshest, but it is always served over a bed of sweet potato grits. If you are a meat lover or love a meat lover like I do, then you have to order their Nudie Steak. I know, its a crazy name, but such a cool concept. They butcher all their own beef and pork on site, so you basically get to pick the exact cut, size, and seasoning on a steak and they will cook it up for you made to order. Basically Steve is in heaven.
Some other really popular items on the menu are the burger (it is HUGE), hot chicken salad which is a Nashville specialty, and their house made sausages.
And last but certainly not least is the desserts. Pastry Chef Betsy Johnston is an absolute genius. Their dessert menu's change regularly, but if you happen to be lucky enough to be there when they have their Blueberry Shortbread Crumble you HAVE to order it. It is topped with coconut milk ice cream and it is seriously delicious.