Gray & Dudley At The 21c Hotel
As I welcomed 2018, I made a promise to myself to do a better job of being a tourist in my own city. In recent years, Nashville has made its way on to several " best of" lists making it more desirable than ever to live here. While I may have some choice words for our "new" Nashville residents during my commute, the growth has been incredible for the city. From major league sports teams, corporate headquarters and an overall boom in the hospitality industry, Nashville has quickly become the "IT" city, making it hard for this native to keep up.
Because of the growth and the "it" city status, Nashville was fortunate enough to be selected as one of the locations for the 21c hotel. Unfamiliar with the 21c properties? Seamlessly blending art and culinary exploration, 21c curates a guest experience like no other. As guests enter the hotel lobby, they find themselves in the midst of a contemporary art museum. And even for a few brief moments, they may even find themselves as the subject matter of an interactive installation. The hotel features a variety of global artists, rotating works on a frequent basis.
Currently, 21c Nashville is featuring "Truth or Dare: A Reality Show." The exhibition "emphasizes the importance of questioning both knowledge and belief by featuring artworks that utilize illusion to entice, entertain and explore the slippery terrain between fact and fiction, presence and absence, reality and imagination." For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you may have seen some of my favorite works from the exhibit on my Instastories. I found each piece more fascinating than the next. If you are in the Nashville area, I would highly recommend grabbing a cocktail and wandering through the exhibit.
Chef Levon Wallace, the former chef of Cochon the Butcher, serves guests inspired comfort food made from ingredients sourced from local Music City purveyors. I had a chance to sample some of the delicious food Chef Levon was cooking up during the kickoff for the Music City Food and Wine Festival. Between the burgers and the fried chicken, I knew I had to make my way back for a proper meal.
Clearly, time got away from me as I recently made it in for brunch. Tempted to order Not Hot Chicken, I restrained myself and explored other dishes on the menu.
One of the first things that caught my eye was the Dutch Baby. I was introduced to this amazing dish several years ago by my friend in California. She was appalled that I was deprived of this goodness for so long! Typical dutch babies are served with freshly squeezed lemon juice and dusted with powdered sugar. However, Gray and Dudley added their own twist and topped the dish with roasted apples and almond brittle. Guests can choose from two different sizes, featured below is the small. It was a great way to start our meal and the size was perfect for two people.
Perhaps one of the prettiest dishes of the meal was the Fruit and Cheese platter. Featuring Sweet Grass Dairy Lil' Moo, the cloud-like mixture was topped with citrus, Tennessee honey, almonds, mint and served with a side of toast. I was expecting the bite to be a bit more substantial but was pleasantly surprised with how light it was and the citrus added this bright burst of flavor. Absolutely divine!
After these two dishes, I felt that something savory was in order. After studying the menu for a bit, I decided to order the El Jefe even though the Bayou La Batre Shrimp totally caught my eye. There was something about this Mexican dish that spoke to me. The El Jefe is served with two eggs, crisp tortilla, black beans, hearth roasted salsa and queso fresco. Perhaps it was the crispy tortilla underneath the over easy eggs or maybe it was the roasted salsa, but I devoured this creation.
As my jeans grew snug, one of the amazing folks at Gray and Dudley came around to check on us and see how things were. Of course, we were raving and did everything but lick our plate. After all, that wouldn't be appropriate! Of course, the question was posed, are you going to have the chocolate chip cookies? Eek! Were we?? Who says no to warm chocolate chip cookies! Not this girl. Who needs new year's resolutions anyway. Am I right?
Fresh from the oven, warm chocolate chip cookies topped with a pinch of sea salt and served with ice milk. A hush fell over the table and eyes began to roll. These cookies were absolute stunners! Have you all had ice milk? It was my first time and I was intrigued by it. It had the texture of a granita/ sorbet but the flavor of full-on ice cream. Such an interest little treat!
What can I say? If your mouth isn't watering and you aren't intrigued by this hotel concept, then clearly I have failed. Chef Levon Wallace is making magic happen in the kitchen at Gray and Dudley. Even if you aren't in Nashville and can't check out 21c, I can't encourage you to take time out of your schedule and explore what your city has to offer. Pretty certain you will be glad that you did!
Tariff: Dishes range between $10.00-$19.00; Sides: $5.00-$9.00;
Can't-Miss: While I didn't feature this in my blog post, the Party Punch is not to be missed. This Rosé based cocktail goes down VERY easily. Perfect for a warm summer day.
Potential Pass: There's nothing that I wouldn't order again. I enjoyed each dish.
Until Next Time!