The Southern Steak & Oyster – Nashville, TN

IMG_0935After a few rowdy nights in Nashville, we treated ourselves to The Southern Steak and Oysters. The Southern is located at 150 3rd Avenue South, just two blocks off of Nashville’s famous Broadway Street, and right by the The Ryman Auditorium. It’s the perfect place to have a nice meal before a world class show or a night out on the town. The Southern isn’t a sit quietly and behave type of restaurant. The atmosphere is social, at times even jovial. The Southern is a beautiful place. Outside welcoming you into the Southern, is a large open deck with slat wood and metal tables. Alongside the patio are several giant stone benches perfect for waiting on a table to open up. The outside of the building is made of glass and windows that allow people watching during the day, or a view of what’s happening at night.

The attention to detail in the décor is amazing. In the entrance, there are several wrought iron and stained glass antique doors that hang like works of art on display. Several hang on hole drilled pool ball casters, and slide to hide storage for store merchandise. Even the main circular dining area is framed by two stressed wood and ornately shaped metal identical doors hanging between two white columns. There are tall dark wooden booths along the back and side of the restaurant, and a glass wine room that showcases the wine selection. There is detailed woodwork inlay of a nautical star and belt driven fans. A statue of a 50′s pinup girl greets you at the entry of the bathrooms, and a projection screen plays old-timey movies on walls inside while you powder your nose. We bellied up to the bar that has a brass and granite bar tap system that looks like a still, and doubles as a raw oyster bar.

We started off with a sampling of raw oysters from around the country. It was nice getting to try them side by side, and compare the differences the regions of harvest made on their taste. In the interest of sampling as much of their food as possible, we ordered several different appetizers as our meals. The My Way ($9) was the hit of the lot, brown butter linguini topped with pine nuts, goat cheese, bacon lardons and two fried eggs, which was great to share, but could easily be a meal by itself. The bacon lardons made the dish, thick cut bacon fat, and added the perfect amount of flavor. We also had the Saffire Steak Biscuits ($11), two slider style buttermilk bleu cheese biscuits, with beef tenderloin and a horse radish demi-glace. Last, but not least, we ordered the Fried Oyster Mash ($10), fried oysters on mashed root veggies with a creole aioli. Our guest ordered the Southern Cioppino ($38), a southern take on the Italian-American dish, with fresh fish, head on shrimp, potatoes, andouille sausage, in a wine and tomato sauce seasoned with fennel and saffron.

The Southern is a truly great restaurant, which is probably why Esquire named them on their list of 2012′s Best New Restaurants in America. Their cocktail list deserves a nod as well. We ordered off- menu, a Dark and Stormy, that did not disappoint.

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