A special edition of the Blue Connoisseur restaurant blog chronicles my recent trip to Nashville, Tennessee. My colleague and I traveled there for the 2018 North American Meat Institute Conference where we met a range of meat distributors like Cibo Italia and sampled innovative products. I always heard Nashville was a great city to travel, after visiting I now understand why it’s in the Top 10 of America’s Fastest Growing Cities.
Nashville is electric! You can walk into any bar or honky-tonk to experience live music & it’s a real treat to find high-quality musicians everywhere. Every restaurant I experienced is memorable in some way. I’ll do my best to recreate my favorite experiences below.
Rolf and Daughters
700 Taylor St, Nashville, TN 37208
This place won me over immediately when I spotted the visual artwork of Shantel Martin on the industrial façade. I’ve followed her for years on Instagram where she’s best known for stream-of-conscious black and white line compositions. It was Saturday night when we visited and the restaurant was packed with business professionals and out of towners. My friend and I grabbed a seat at the bar where we were greeted by a friendly bar staff. All three worked cohesively to help recommend dishes and drink pairings. Being a landlocked state, I was surprised to see Longfin Squid on the menu. It was sourced from a fishery in Montauk, NY, sent by wholesale restaurant food distributor Sea2Table. Definitely try this dish along with the sweet potato option.
1306 McGavock Pike, Nashville, TN 37216
Mitchell’s is a great sandwich counter located in a suburban neighborhood of Inglewood. There’s a local vintage record store across the street worth checking out called Fond Object. I noticed they had a variety of great 80’s punk albums, spotting Talking Heads ‘77. I tried the Tennessee Tuna Melt which comes with remoulade sauce, a yellowish aioli often flavored with horseradish and paprika. The sauce helped all the layers come together perfectly which included swiss, lettuce, tomato, pickled red onion held together with Silke’s Bakery rye bread. What made it different was the tuna was left “dry” (no mayonnaise mixed in) which I prefer & this allowed the remoulades’ spiciness to shine and kick this sandwich up a notch.
Rosemary & Beauty Queen
1102 Forrest Ave
Nashville, TN 37206
I would describe this spot as a speakeasy. Walking in you enter a well-designed old home that was converted into a bar. There’s a Scooby Doo feel to the space with all the large paintings on the wall & the low light gives it a comfortable ambiance. I reluctantly tried the “Avalon” gin drink (gin, cucumber, lime, and midori) after the bartender assured me the cucumber flavor was mild. I prefer my gin simply with lemon or lime but went with his suggestion and found the cucumber gave this drink a refreshing yet mild flavor that complimented the other flavors.
1520 Woodland St, Nashville, TN 37206
If you’re staying at the Urban Cowboy Nashville, a famous western-themed Bed & Breakfast that also has a location in Brooklyn, then you have plenty of great food options close to the hotel. Lockeland Table is conveniently located across the street & I was interested in what would be offered in a “Community Kitchen and Bar”. If you order one item off the menu, I highly recommend the red Thai curry mussels. The curry sauce is made with lemongrass and basil and was so delicious I had to order extra bread to soak up every drop after finishing the mussels.