On July 19, The Nashville Food Project will hold its annual fundraising event, NOURISH, at the dining hall at Montgomery Bell Academy, bringing together Nashville’s
A new steak joint in this town warrants a close look—after all, for years, Nashville had just a few tried-and-true stalwarts. But, lately, it seems, several out-of-town restaurant groups have picked up on Nashville’s meat-and-potato interests.
Oak Steakhouse, set at the base of the shimmering new The Westin Nashville hotel, opened its doors this summer, offering an ever-so-slightly more casual steakhouse experience. Part of Charleston-based The Indigo Road hospitality group, Nashville’s is the fourth Oak to open in the Southeast, and the group recently announced that they’ll be opening a sushi concept, O-Ku, in Germantown next year.
Inside, the vibe is modern, yet manly. The interior has a woodland-chic aesthetic, with earthy touches, like mushroom-shaped lanterns, tree-bark wood paneling, and a light leaf motif. It’s a sultry room, but one that’s also relaxed—like most of Nashville’s dining rooms, wearing jeans is completely appropriate.
The sleek bar can be seen from just outside the massive windows that open up toward the Music City Center—but a perch at the bar only offers a view of the construction across the street (for now). Still, you’ll find a sturdy drink, which is a good way to start your meal. There are riffs on classic cocktails, like an Oak Manhattan, or straight up ones, like a Sazarac, plus a range of beers and, predictably, a strong selection of American red wines, meant to stand up to the many meat-focused entrees. Ask for a moment with the sommelier, who smartly guides within both context and price.
But, before you get there, prep your palate with the solid selection of raw-bar items and chilled seafood, like a handful of New Zealand oysters or an order of spindly Alaskan king crab legs. Next, there are a range of small plates, like tender scallops set over an English pea puree, charred bits of octopus rolling around in a Jack Daniels-based barbecue sauce, or the smoky and filling Oysters Rockefeller. A lighter option might be the beet salad—though a fried medallion of goat cheese lends some heft to the cubed beets.
But let’s get real: Steak is the star here, with all selections marked as Certified Angus Beef, a grading designation that measures the quality of the meat based on marbling and sizing. Selections are a la carte, so you can pair your dry-aged prime New York strip with a dish of bacon-laden Brussels sprouts or a Mexican-inspired street corn dish—served off the cob, it’s piled with bonito flakes, aioli, cashews, and cotija cheese. Or opt for the eight-ounce filet, paired with the ultra-creamy aligot potatoes, napped with fontina cheese. For those in search of a whopper, there’s also a 24-ounce prime bone-in ribeye. All of the cuts and the sides are substantial and richly flavored—the seasoning on the steaks will get your palate begging for another bite and one more sip of wine.
Like many of its kin, this steak experience offers options for non-meat eaters, too, like a Tennessee trout or a Southern farmers vegetable plate that centers on cauliflower and spicy greens. But we’d put our money (all of it) toward the quality meat, a silky American cabernet sauvignon, and, of course, dessert. The s’mores, for example, bring that camp-time tradition to new heights, with an avalanche of chocolate bits, a smear of gooey caramel, crumbled crackers, and a mountaintop of just charred marshmallows—a decadent finish that’s fitting for both the price tag and the space.
801 Clark Pl, 615-902-3111; oaksteakhousenashville.com