Dinner at Merchants – Downtown Nashville, TN

Merchants – 401 Broadway, Nashville, TN

Merchants Logo

Step in the door and see an inviting room of black & white tile floors, white walls, exposed brick, black seated booths along with a few tables. The tables are thick swirled marble set with linen napkins and corked glass bottle of chilled water. All of which is flanked around a large fully stocked bar that also doubles as places to eat. The staff was friendly, from the hosts to the waiter.  Speaking of waiters, they are smartly dressed in black pants, white buttoned down shirts with a black tie and, of course, a properly tied apron to pull the look together. This downstairs bistro has it all!

We were lucky enough to be seated in the main floor bistro immediately. Which surprised me, it was six thirty on a Sunday night and the restaurant was busy. I had assumed we would have a wait. The crowds were certainly out on the streets, but I guess their focus wasn’t really on eating. It seemed to me they were all looking to find the “perfect” bar. Which, on this section of Broadway Street, finding a bar with a live band was not a problem. There was one every few feet. It was nice to slip into a nice upscale bistro.

After water was poured, the waiter took our drink order and came back with a small silver bucket of popcorn coated in dry ranch dressing. If you have never tried this combination I highly recommend it.

To start we ordered a half portion of Duck Fat Tater Tots which comes with three sauces: spicy ranch, creole honey mustard and smoky ketchup.

Duck Fat Tater Tots

The tots were crisped to golden perfection. Each sauce was delicious in its own right. Spicy Ranch – think chipotle ranch. Creole Honey Mustard – just enough honey to make it sweet combined with the tiny tang of the mustard. Smoky Ketchup – Heintz + smoky paprika. Then we noticed that at the bottom of the popcorn tin there was still an abundance of (dry) ranch seasoning – oh this can not go to waste! So we sprinkled it on the tater tots. Yup, was even better than the plain ones. (I need to try this at home)

For dinner I choose the Steak Salad and my husband orders the Double Cheeseburger.

Steak Salad

A, well seasoned and sizeable, medium rare steak over a bed of mixed greens topped with blue cheese, pickled red onions and cherry tomatoes, then lightly dressed with a red wine vinaigrette. The steak is tender and mixes perfectly with the other ingredients.

Double Cheeseburger with Sweet Potato Fries

Two seasoned patties topped with american cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and a “secret sauce” nestled between a toasted hard roll. The sweet potato fries were thick cut. Crisp on the outside and tender in the center. The burger is juicy and cooked well. The cheese must have been melted on before being placed on the bun. Just the way it should be.

The meal was excellent.  The service was almost on point. I say “almost” because our waiter was super friendly and attentive until the host sat a group of cute women in his section. Then he was slightly more interested and focused on them to notice that our drinks sat empty.

Our booth in the corner window provided plenty of people watching entertainment. So I was happy that we chose the downstairs bistro over the more upscale dinning room on the second floor.