Lyra - Adding A Little Twinkle To East Nashville
935 W. Eastland Avenue
Nashville, Tennessee 37206
Website and Instagram
When the Holland House shuttered in July 2017, East Nashville residents were saddened to see one of their favorite local watering holes close. But thanks to the husband and wife duo, Hrant and Elizabeth Arakelian, this former East Nashville haunt has been revived. Lyra serves Middle Eastern cuisine that's far from your basic baba ganoush.
The Arakelians are no strangers to the Nashville dining scene. Elizabeth, well versed in liquid refreshments, has worked behind the bar of former Green Hills favorite, F. Scott's and has been integral in the success of the bar program at Lockeland Table. Prior to taking on the executive chef role at Holland House, Hank spent time in a number of Nashville kitchens ( Etch, Butchertown Hall, and Rumours East) perfecting his culinary style. How apropos that they now call this place home.
Despite Nashville's evolving culinary scene, the city lacks diversity in food. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my fried chicken, burgers and donuts as much as the next girl, but there's so much more out there to experience in terms of people, culture, and food. Needless to say, when I heard rumblings that we were getting a restaurant that served authentic Middle Eastern cuisine, I was thrilled.
I had the chance to visit one of my favorite gal pals, Katie, who's a fellow Nashville blogger talking about all things fashion, motivation and how to be your best self. If you aren't giving her follow, go ahead and fix that here. We caught up over cocktails and tasted our way through much of the menu.
Did someone say heirloom tomatoes? After spying this dish on Lyra's Instagram, I insisted that we order it. I am a tomato lover at heart and I knew this dish would not disappoint. These little gems were roasted to perfection. Chef Hrant garnished the dish with Turkish cheese which gave it just the right amount of saltiness. Don't let me fool you, that cheese was delicious and I added any extra to our other bites. I found the puffed bulgur a pleasant surprise as it added just the smallest bit of crunch to this overall perfect summertime dish.
What meal would be complete without a bread course? Katie and I decided to order the Daily Man'ousheh. To be completely honest, I don't remember all of the ingredients that were in this dish, but I do remember there were smashed potatoes involved. Say hello to #carbfest2018. Trust me, it was worth every single calorie.
It wouldn't be a proper Middle Eastern meal if we didn't order Lamb Kefta. The last time I had memorable Lamb Kefta was during my travels to Morocco and I've yet to find a place in the states that can match that level of spice and flavor. That was until I had the Lamb Kefta at Lyra. Holy goodness. This dish may look modest but it's filled with flavor and spice. Lyra serves this with fattoush salad which compliments to skewers quite nicely.
Aside from this amazing food, I have to say our server was top notch. Not only was she incredibly patient (we were QUITE chatty) as we caught up with one another but her recommendations were on point. After describing how the 1/2 chicken was roasted over the wood-fired oven, we picked our jaws up and promptly ordered one of those for the table. When that much time and detail is spent on a dish, you know it's going to be amazing.
By far a table favorite. The chicken was so incredibly tender it might as well have fallen straight off the bone. Pair a bite of that deliciousness with some of the sumac onions and just a dollop of the yogurt and you have perfection. Aside from the heirloom tomatoes, this ties for my second favorite dish of the evening.
When you're this far down the rabbit hole, you might as well go all the way. Am I right? To top off this Middle Eastern feast, we had to have not one but two desserts. Our first sweet treat was the Ice Cream of the Day which was a Rose Sumac Ice Cream, which I could have eaten for days. Lately, I've had a fondness for all things floral and this was no exception. Our spoons fought to the death on this one. If this is in rotation during your visit, this is a must.
Our second dessert was a bit more traditional, Rice Pudding. The flavors were exceptional. I loved the varying textures throughout the dish and the strawberries added that something extra that I just can't pinpoint.
Let's welcome Lyra to the Nashville dining scene and say thank you for literally spicing it up a bit. I look forward to watching your menu evolve and your reservations fully booked!
Lyra hosts happy hour every day between 4:00- 6:00 p.m. Guests can find a bevy of bites and beverages from $3.00-$6.00. What a steal!
Parking can be tricky, after all, it's Nashville. There's a small lot to the side of the restaurant, but there's no shortage of space on the side streets and you can get your steps in before you indulge. Just remember, be kind to those that live in the 'hood and don't block their driveways.
Tariff: Dishes are priced between $8.00 - $29.00 with craft beers and cocktails ranging from $7.00 - $12.00.
Can't-Miss: If you're a tomato lover like me, you don't want to miss the Salted Baked Heirloom Tomatoes. LOVE. If I had to choose between the chicken and the Lamb Kefta, I'd lean more towards the chicken. It's a labor of love and those flavors are killer.
Potential Pass: I enjoyed all of our dishes and if I had it to do all over again, I'd likely order the exact same thing. However, if you want to save room and have more savory courses, I'd probably skip the bread. Even though it was a likable dish, save the space and splurge elsewhere on the menu.
If you find yourself at Lyra and discover any new can't miss courses, please send them my way!
Until Next Time!