A few weeks ago, Josh and I decided to check out a new local restaurant that I had been hearing some really good things about. Lockeland Table opened about 3 months ago, and I’d say it wins our vote for best new restaurant in Nashville.
It will come as no surprise to frequent readers that we have very adventurous palates, and there were a few things that we had seen on the menu before coming that we knew we would be getting. While we did stick to most of those, there were also a few specials that we started salivating over as soon as they were listed. We decided the best approach would be to simply order a large quantity of appetizers and go to town. Our fantastic waiter loved our approach (in fact, he called us ballers) and did an excellent job staggering the arrival of all the dishes.
When making reservations, we chose to sit at the pizza bar in order to get the time slot we wanted. This turned out to be a fun chance to watch the pizzas being made and to chat with the staff about the food. We love sitting at the bar when we go out to get cocktails, so this was a very natural extension of that. I always enjoy talking to people who know the food and love what they’re doing.
I will go ahead and mention that while we had several cocktails, I can’t remember the details of a single one. My thoughts were all on the food. Lockeland Table doesn’t seem to have their cocktails listed online at this point either to refresh my memory. Suffice it to say, I had a lot of drinks, and they were very good.
We started off our meal with the classic cornbread. It came in a small cast iron skillet with a generous amount of honey butter on the side. Fact: I love sweet butter of any type, so I was already happy. I did try to limit the amount I ate though, knowing that I would be extremely angry with myself if I filled up on cornbread before the rest of the dishes arrived.
Next we got the chicken liver pate in a jar, with a layer of warm Benton’s bacon fat on top. This came with a side of smoked peach preserves and grilled bread. People, this is the dish that I want to be buried in/with when my time comes. I know that a lot of people are grossed out at the thought of liver, but this was honestly some of the best I’ve ever had. While some liver can have a very strong mineral taste, this was mellow and divine. The peach preserves added the perfect amount of sweetness to an already stellar dish. If you have ever even possibly considered trying liver, this is the place to go. We scraped every last bit out of the jar, and had dreamy smiles on our faces for the rest of the evening due to this.
Next we got one of the chef’s specials for the evening: head cheese. This one was definitely on the outer fringes of my comfort zone, having never tried it before. Normally the very mention of head cheese brings to mind visions of pimento loaf and worse, but I decided to trust them and try it, and it was delicious. Delicate, with a subtle barbecue flavor, and very little of the gelatinous quality I normally associate with the dish, this was absolutely something I would order again. After speaking with one of the chefs, we discovered that he actually used his PePaw’s recipe for head cheese. Love it.
Another special that night was pork and crawfish boudain balls with Alabama white sauce. Think of them like a rice and meat version of a hush puppy. They were crunchy and delicious, and the sauce added the right amount of tang. Definite comfort food right there for this Southern girl.
One of the dishes we knew we had to order was the roasted bone marrow. There’s something incredibly primal about ordered giant bones, cleaved in half, and scraping out the insides. After spreading it on grilled bread and adding some lovely pickled shallots and parsley though, I realized that eating like a caveman is vastly underrated. This was a rich, delicious dish that I’m sure raised my cholesterol entirely too much, but one that I will happily be ordering again soon.
As if all of this wasn’t enough, we decided to go bold and order dessert as well. We went with the ricotta doughnuts with homemade jelly filling. They came out, still piping hot, in a small paper bag filled with powdered sugar. We shook the bag well and enjoyed the perfect finish to a perfect evening.
Lockeland Table has already manged to create an incredibly welcoming and homey atmosphere in a very short amount of time. Ever detail, from the staff to the decor, contributed to a feeling of comfort that normally only comes with many, many years of experience. If this is how they start out, we can’t wait to see what’s to come.