Before heading to Nashville last month, my friend and I were constantly told two things: Sing karaoke and don’t skimp on eating well. The former was done in a very smoky trailer called Santa’s Pub (apparently a local’s favorite), and the latter is why we ended up choosing to dine at The Southern Steak & Oyster one evening.
Located on the ground floor of the Pinnacle at Symphony Place in downtown, the eatery serves authentic Southern cuisine and is particularly known for their locally-sourced fare. We visited on a Friday night and, although we had secured a later evening reservation, the place was still brimming with patrons.
Inside, the eatery features an open-kitchen that offers views of the wood-fired grill while iconic Nashville photographs pay homage to Music City throughout the restaurant. There is a very eclectic style to the place; a rustic-chic fine dining atmosphere while at the same time being a casual sports bar joint. You almost can’t put your finger on it, but it all somehow works together.
Behind the restaurant’s dishes is Executive Chef Matt Farley who studied at the French Culinary Institute before running the kitchen at The Noho Star, working at the famed Loveless Café, and perfecting his skills with the Farmhouse at Fontanel. Chef Farley’s love of southern food is clear in each dish along with his passion for honest fare and good, simple ingredients.
To balance the heavy foods we’d been experiencing over the past few days, we started with the Bless Your Heart Salad. Made with romaine, hearts of palm, beets, artichokes, cauliflower, pepitas, goat cheese and balsamic herb vinaigrette, there were plenty of fun flavor combinations evident in each bite. For a taste of southern comfort food, try the Dominican Pork with Caribbean spiced braised pork and mango pico sitting atop a crisp sweet potato grit cake (delicious!).
The dinner menu is pretty extensive, with plenty of seafood, poultry and meat options available. For a seafood dish, try the Sea Scallop Linguini with Andouille sausage, jumbo lump crab meat, red peppers, spinach and white wine cream sauce. However, if you’re looking for a red meat option, consider the Nudie Suit. This is a fun choice for those who enjoy selecting the size, cut and marbling of their meat.
Guests are escorted to one of the kitchen’s counters to pick their meat and to choose whether it is a dry- or wet-aged cut. Served with hand-cut fries and grilled asparagus, our wet-aged beef was mouth-wateringly good. After the first few bites, it was clear why The Southern is famous for their steaks.
If you can, save room for dessert because their Bananas Foster Bread Pudding is just as appetizing as it sounds. Or, for a lighter option, the Red Grits with fresh berries, tapioca pearls, vanilla bean sauce and fresh whipped cream will definitely hit the spot after a filling meal.
Great food is everywhere in Nashville, so more than likely you’re guaranteed some good grub no matter where you go. But as a testament to The Southern’s stellar cuisine, all you have to do is check out the reviews on TripAdvisor or Yelp to see that locals and visitors alike are singing its praises. So if you're heading to Music City soon, do me a favor, and "don't skimp on eating well" by heading to The Southern Steak & Oyster.
The Southern is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch on the weekends. Happy hour is available from 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday.