Brooklyn hound with one night in Nashville
I've looked through many of the Nashville posts and because of time constraints I'm trying to narrow down some choices to the location we'll be staying in. I'll be going to Nashville in a month for a meeting and staying at the Hilton (near Broadway between 4th & 5th). I'm arranging a dinner for 6 on a Monday night and I'd like it to be close to this area (won't have a car).
Money is not an issue at all but quality food, atmosphere and hopefully authentic Nashville would be great. Suggestions for a place with music or places to go for music in the area after dinner would be welcome as well.
Any top three lists?
For dinner I'd highly recommend Margot Cafe located in an East Nashville neighborhood 10 mins or so from downtown. Superb food, lovely atmosphere, not at all stuffy or over the top. Easily worth the brief ride. As for authentic Nashville, head to Station Inn for bluegrass. Given your predilections it would be a shame to overlook this spot.
Please do not go to Merchant's as your only dinner in Nashville. It is just basic dinner and Nashville now has much more to offer in the way of interesting meals.
Four I would suggest in the downtown area are:
Radius 10 is conistently great. Jason Brumm is the chef/owner and does the best shrimp/scallops/grits I've ever had. His grits melt in your mouth and are delicious. I've never had a bad meal there though so don't feel obligated to get the grits just because you are in Nashville. It has a great view of Union Station (the old train station now a hotel) and Jason is usually walking around the restaurant bringing special tastings to the table, etc. http://www.radius10.com/
Flyte is another favorite of mine and they specialize in "flytes" of wine and foods and have lots of organic foods and locally grown vegetables. The guys that own the place (Scott and Scott) are so laid back and friendly and treat everyone that comes in as friends. If the pecan pie salad is on the menu you must try it. Blue cheese ice cream truly is divine (I was afraid I'd have to stop my husband from licking his plate!) http://www.flytenashville.com/
Germantown Cafe is another great local restaurant and one of our favorites that is located in Germantown which is a few minute cab ride from the Hilton. It has a great view of downtown and serves great meats and if you like French Onion soup it's one of their specialities. http://www.germantowncafe.com/
Lastly, if you want something a little more historical but still a great meal, there is the Capitol Grille located in the Hermitage Hotel, which is walking distance from the Hilton. http://www.thehermitagehotel.com/site/ It's one of Nashville's older restuarants (the others have opened just in the past 2-3 years) but has wonderful food and service along with some history. Even if you don't have dinner there, try to grab a drink in the Oak Room bar.
Both Radius 10 and Flyte would be easy walks from the Hilton in NY, but you may want to take a cab just because some of the side streets you'd have to travel may be somewhat secluded. They would just be a minute or 2 cab ride from your hotel. Regarding Watermark and Sambuca -- Sambuca is a chain so unless you just want to hear some music there or grab a drink I don't think it's worth it for dinner. Watermark is great http://www.watermark-restaurant.com/ but I tend to prefer Radius 10 and Flyte. Their atmosphere seems a bit more laid back while Watermark feels more "reserved" for lack of a better word. I was there recently and we actually enjoyed all the appetizers but the none of the entrees hit us that night. Both Flyte and Watermark have excellent wine selections.
As for live music, Robert's/The Stage/Tootsie's always have great bands and lots going on.
Hope that helps and that you enjoy your visit to Nashville!
We just returned fr/ Nashville and I can not say enough about Flyte. The food and service were excellent. The duck was incredibly good and Fuss raved about her filet. Very nice wine list. I would have changed the rice cake w/ the shrimp appetizer but that is just my personal preference.
I ate the duck there last week and it was outrageously good. We had a table full of culinary professionals, and we even requested the temperature to which we wanted our lamb and duck cooked and they did it! The lamb was so good I gnawed the bones clean. I had that flight of whites called something "green" like spring green or green revival or something. Pricey but worth it. My husband, a bratwurst and potatoes guy, didn't agree that it was worth it. But then, his choice for birthday dinner is the good but downscale Gerst Haus.
I just had the duck this past weekend and am now a HUGE Flyte fan! Wow, that cocoa nib jus is awesome! That was my second time to Flyte, and both times the service has been beyond any that I've had in Nashville. The wine list is also incredible and although I can't afford to eat there every week, I'll be back as often as I can, even if for just a few glasses of wine.
My favorite evening itinerary where you are is this:
Visit Country Music Hall of Fame museum, which is open until about 5:30 or 6 p.m. (I'm a museum nerd, and it's very interesting) (it's across the plaza from your hotel)
Stroll to the Shelby Street pedestrian bridge and people watch Riverfront Park.
Go to Sole Mio for a drink and dinne, an Italian place on either second or fourth. Handmade noodles. Not as good, probably, as Italian in Brooklyn, but damn good. It's Second Avenue, I think, You'll walk about four blocks.
Check the Schermerhorn Symphony Center website (nashvillesymphony.org) for performances that night. If you have tix, go there after dinner. It's an eye-popping space with fantastic sound. (And lots of non-classical, and nontraditional, acts play there.) (In fact, there's never a bad show there, whoever it may be.)
Take a post-symphopny stroll on the Shelby St pedestrian bridge, just across the street from the symphony hall. Admire the moon on the Cumberland River.
If that doesn't grab you, the Hilton is also walking distance from Merchants' Restaurant on Broadway. I haven't eaten there in years, but search for it on these boards and get a recent opinion. It's a pretty, historic space on the historic section of Broadway and the food has been very good in years past.
There's a Palm in your hotel, and a Morton's about three blocks north. If you're up for a (very pleasant) 7-block walk, you could visit any of the places in the Gulch. People love Radius 10 (search these boards) but I've not been. Sambuca gets a lively crowd. I like Watermark well enough, but found it pretty much like all the other upscale places with $26 salmon and an impressive winelist that I've ever, ever eaten at. Other people on these boards raved, so maybe I just got the wrong thing.
Music: Robert's Western Wear is a self-conscious dive on Broadway with a good line-up of bands. Their website will list who is playing that night. Brazilbilly and BR549 are usually there and both are really good. Often no cover charge.
Check www.ryman.com for whoever is playing at the Ryman auditorium, which is a couple of blocks north of your hotel. The venue is so cool, and the bookings so good that tix sell out fast there, so do it soon. Same with the Schermerhorn center.
If you go to the Gulch, there are two music venues. Station Inn is the city's bluegrass showplace. There's a calendar online at stationinn.com. Time Jumpers on Monday nights are great, and so are Doyle and Debbie, who play occasionally.
Also in the Gulch is City Hall, a warehouse for midsize rock shows. Doc Martens not required, but recommended. Some very good independent and alternative bands play there.cityhallnashville.com