The Husband and I went on a quick journey up the street ‘n around the corner to try our new neighborhood restaurant, Lockeland Table.
Chef Hal Holden-Bache and his partner in crime Cara Graham left Eastland Cafe in safe hands to start this “community kitchen and bar” venture and so far it seems to have been a very right choice!
There’s a reason I wore a stretchy-waist dress and kept breakfast and lunch light yesterday, people. I’d been musing over the menu for days prior to our reservation and realized I was just going to have to have a three course meal to truly experience the goodness Lockeland Table has to offer.
The Husband and I were pleasantly surprised as soon as we walked through the door Saturday evening. A large community table [which I assume is THE Table] is tucked into the front corner of the restaurant behind the hostess’ stand and along a bank of floor-to-ceiling windows. The [drinks] bar was crowded with folks engaging in boisterous chatter. I spied a chalkboard menu framed with a thrifted scroll-y frame which added a bit of eccentric fun to the otherwise brick-wood-metal heavy ambiance.
We had a small table for two along a wall of banquette seating, beside the pizza bar with a perfect view of the copper-flashed wood-burning brick pizza oven. Because of this, we already have plans to return just to be able to sample one of the stunning masterpieces that were leaving that oven non-stop yesterday evening. The few empty seats at the pizza bar were quickly filled with some walk-up guests once we were into our first courses. [ladies - note the hooks! for your purses! such an important little detail that often gets overlooked.]
After browsing the cocktail + beer offerings, I decided to go with a Dragonfly while the Husband stayed local with a Jackalope Thunderann. While I couldn’t taste much gin in my drink of choice, the combination of grapefruit juice and basil was unexpectedly perfect [I was a bit hesitant before my first sip] and a great refresher for a summer evening.
While waiting for our first courses, The Husband and I indulged in some rolls and took in a bit more of our surroundings. The glassware and plateware are simple but classic, allowing the food and drinks to sing and shine. The linens [napkins, bread basket liner, etc.] are all soft white cotton with a woven red trim. Reminiscent of napkins you might see at Nana and Poppops dinner table. A sweet, homey touch.
I was undecided between the Cox Farms roasted bone marrow and (NC) chicken liver pate in a jar until the Benton’s bacon fat and smoked peach preserves tipped the scale in the latter’s favor. The fat was perfectly smoked and salty, not too greasy. The liver smooth and velvety. I didn’t taste too much smoke in the peach preserves but they were just the right amount of sweetness that I didn’t miss anything. I ended up cleaning my plate with a spoon to get the very last bits in mah belleh. [note that the preserves are served on the lid of the mason jar the pate is in. again with the attention to the little details! love it.] The plate came with small toasts and the Tuscan bread that was listed on the menu. I used the toasts for spreading + topping so we saved the bread for our main meal. [The Husband made good use of the bread to clean up the corn cream that came with his entrée.]
I decided to have the steak & frites with roasted tomato aioli. I gave The Husband most of my frites since he didn’t have much veg with his order of the Carolina mountain trout w/maple bourbon glaze so I also ordered the pimento cheese falls mill grits that comes with the roasted chicken. My medium rare steak was cooked to perfection – seared, crispy, salty outside and tender soft inside. The roasted tomato aioli was balanced, rich and savory. Eat-with-a-spoon-worthy. Seriously – if they bottled it, I’d buy it.
If I was underwhelmed at any point in the meal, it was, sadly, with the grits. They were creamy and had a great texture, but if I hadn’t known it, I wouldn’t have been able to determine on my own that they were pimento cheese grits. They tasted like grits cooked in a delicious savory base like chicken broth. This did not, however, keep me from cleaning the bowl of every last drop!
Though already stuffed to the gills, The Husband and I indulged in dessert before beginning the short trek home. I’ve been bouncing around an idea for a zucchini-orange-olive oil baked good for a while, so I went with the zucchini olive oil cake with lemon glaze, served with whipped mascarpone. The cake was so dense and bright. No easily identifiable shreds of zucchini, which might typically turn people off [especially those of the little variety]. The thin glaze brought a bright and tart component to the dish overall and the mascarpone balanced out the overall sweetness with a creamy almost-savory quality.
The Husband and I were attended to by knowledgeable and kind staff throughout the evening and enjoyed a well-paced three course meal ripe with neighbor-meeting, former-neighbor running-in-to [hi, Laura + Ashby!] and thoughtfully prepared and presented courses highlighting the rich local produce and proteins our area has to offer.
Hope to run into *you* on our next visit!
Details : Lockeland Table . 615-228-4864 [reservations highly recommended] . 1520 Woodland Street . general hours : monday – saturday 4 – 10 pm
PS – read this great preview from the Nashville Scene that highlights a lot of the details that went into the decor and a bit of the history of the building.
*updated 08.27.1 – Chris Chamberlain’s review of his Lockeland Table dining experience for The Scene’s Bites Blog*