Who's in the mood for some kicked-up southern classics in an upscale, trendy environment? If you raised your hand, The Southern Steak & Oyster in downtown Nashville is probably right up your alley.
UD and I kind of defaulted to it on the Monday night of our recent visit because...well, it was either that or Pita Pit. Okay, maybe things weren't THAT limited, but most of the independent restaurants in the downtown area are closed on that day and how many times does one really need to dine at the Hard Rock Cafe or Margaritaville to clear them from ones "bucket list"?
Sleek, chic and buzzy, the place was full when we sauntered in (sans rezzies) at around 6:45. Since my better half doesn't wait well, we decided to brave the cool autumn temps and dine alfresco on the outdoor patio. While it wasn't unpleasant, some heaters and/or clear backup PVC shades to block the chilly breeze during the colder months would probably pay for themselves in short order.
We received attentive and appropriately southern-charming service from our waitstaff. A nice wine list was available and the usually-red-wine-drinking Underdog agreed to share a $58 bottle of Russian River Valley Sonoma Cutrer with me. A basket of Satan-Inspired Bleu Cheese Biscuits with a crock of butter was dispensed at almost the verymoment our glutei maximi hit the Naugahyde...which was appreciated at the time but turned out to be a bit of a precursor to the Cracker Barrel-esque pace of the meal.
You NEED these...you really do. Your life is not complete until you taste this.
We decided to share the Bayou La Batre fresh lump crab cake with hominy, red pepper relish and chili-lime
buerre blanc as an app. Our lovely server assured us that it was wildly popular...and, as it turned out, justifiably so. Perfectly pan seared, fresh-tasting and containing the bare minimum of binding ingredients, these were off the chain. I love hominy and thought it added a thoughtful and creative regional touch to these perfect little patties of crustacean heaven.
Here's where I'm forced to get a little bitchy. Perhaps (and I'm being generous here) a full 60 seconds passed between the time of the crab cakes delivery and the unceremonious "plopping down" of our entrees. With a price structure of $20-$50 per main course, this was not cool.
Now that we've gotten the only negative comment out of the way, I will say that my Chicken Fried Chicken slathered in Country Ham Gravy and served atop White Cheddar Mac 'n Cheese (particularly evil) and Collard Greens quickened this Suthrun Gurl's pulse. Not usually a fan of boneless chicken breast, this rendition was moister, juicier and more flavorful than most. Oh...and it was breaded and deep-fried (Bonus Points!). Behold my decadent "heart attack on a plate":
The Spousal Unit ordered the Bahn Mi Tacos (slow braised pork belly, pickled daikon, carrot, cucumber, cilantro sprigs and spicy hoisin served with kimchi). While thrilled with both the taste and textural contrast of this dish, he would've preferred a more traditional fluffy and tender steamed bun (a la Stinky Bunz in Tampa) as a carrier, but deemed the ingredients to be of the highest level of tastiness and quality.