June 29, 2012

A Summer Evening at Margot Cafe

My sister came to visit last weekend and we decided to try out Margot Café for dinner on Friday night. We were in the middle of a horrendous heat wave; but, with a few fans, it was finally cool enough to sit out on the patio. Margot Café is one of East Nashville’s fine dining restaurants. The food is tasty, engaging, and fresh. The atmosphere is hip, lively, and fun.

Menu: Chef Margot McCormack uses local and organic ingredients whenever possible. On this particular evening, the menu featured ingredients from Eaton’s Creek Organics and Timbertop Farm. One thing I love about this menu is that it is concise, yet thoroughly encompassing. It lists 4 appetizers to share, 6-first course options, and 7-second course options. Honestly, simplicity is the best way to create a menu. It keeps hungry eaters from getting too overwhelmed and allows for you to peruse each item without feeling rushed. What is also nice about the menu at Margot Café is that it includes multiple vegetarian options for those who do not eat meat or fish.

My sister and I started by sharing the Herb Infused Olive Oil with Balsamic Vinegar and Parmigiano Reggiano. This is a dipping sauce that comes with homemade bread. Our first courses included the Mussels, Clams, and Shrimp with Chickpeas and Tomato Saffron broth as well as the Roasted Pepper Salad with Gorgonzola. The dipping sauce was pleasantly inventive. The mussels, clams, and shrimp dish was very flavorful and the broth was unique to my palate because it was not your typical white wine-based broth. My sister’s salad was also appealing with finely shaved Gorgonzola. How refreshing to eat a salad without large chunks of Gorgonzola.

Our second courses consisted of the house-made linguini with heirloom tomatoes and mozzarella and the grilled strip steak with green beans, potatoes, and Gorgonzola butter. Looks like Gorgonzola is a favorite ingredient of McCormack. The linguini was cooked to perfection, al dente. The plump heirloom tomatoes and fresh mozzarella created a light and savory sauce for the pasta. It was so tasty that my sister ate the entire plate of pasta! For those of you who do not know her, she is a light eater and usually only finishes half of her meal. Now, this is saying something…

The Gorgonzola butter drizzled down the sides of the steak, providing a juicy sauce for the medium-rare fillet. My only critique is that the green beans were unusually herbed and the rosemary flavor was unpleasantly overpowering.

Overall Experience: Margot Café truly complements East Nashville’s buzzing dining scene. It is a fantastic place for a romantic dinner date or a casual meal at the bar. I’ll definitely be back! 

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