Marveling At Makeready Libations and Liberation
Just a little over two weeks ago, Nashville's newest boutique hotel, the Noelle opened. Originally built in the 1930's, Noelle preserves the finest art deco aspects of the original building while incorporating contemporary nuances throughout. Noelle has several dining options all of which reflect Nashville's evolving culinary scene. In need of a caffeine boost? Visit Drug Store Coffee created by Barista Parlor genius and owner, Andy Mumma. Killer day at the office and in much need of a martini? Look no further than the Trade Room located just a few steps beyond the hotel lobby. Shaken or straight up, make sure you sip it slowly and admire the beautiful surroundings.
Last but not least, hop on the elevator (it's a beauty, too) and hit LL and visit Makeready Libations and Liberation. Priding itself on being the "working man's tavern," there's certainly something on the menu for everyone.
Other than a few photos on Instagram, I had no idea this restaurant was open. Even though it's only been open a short amount of time, press and restaurant buzz has been minimal. We walked in during a prime dining time only to find one other couple in the restaurant. Good news, we had our choice of tables!
Giving us time to get acquainted with the menu, we decided what better way to kick off dinner than with a cocktail. There are a handful of cocktails available and if that's not your thing there are plenty of wines and spirits for your choosing. Featured below is the Faust and the Bandera. What prompted me to order the Bandera? Not only did it include mezcal, but come on, it was accompanied by the champagne of beer!
Perusing the menu, we found several dishes that piqued our curiosity. Of course, we asked our server for her favorites as well as any can't miss dishes. All in all, I was felt confident in our choices. Ordering several different plates, I hoped that the kitchen would have coursed it out accordingly however, everything came out at once. I suspect that the kitchen staff was a little overeager since we were the only people ordering food in the restaurant at that time. Out first, carrots served with Moroccan spice, herbs, and yogurt. Having visited Morocco last year, I was excited to taste the blend of spices. My quest for the perfect bite fell flat as did this dish. The carrots were quite tender but this dish lacked the depth and spice that I was so hoping it would have. Likely, my least favorite dish of the evening.
Did someone say truffle? Of course, any course with shaved truffles has my vote. Below you will find King Trumpet mushrooms served with graham, red pepper and topped with shaved black truffles. I may have had a little truffle bias, but I really enjoyed this dish. The graham/red pepper combination added a distinctive kick of flavor.
Without a doubt, pasta dishes are the epitome comfort food, especially those with a cream based sauce. It's rare that I find a pasta dish light or refreshing, but Makeready's cavatelli is most certainly that. Featured below, cavatelli with butternut, burnt onion, and pickled delicata. This dish is perfect to share with the table or can act as an entree.
I don't know if it's the cold weather, but lately, I have been on a burger kick (last victim: Hugh Baby's- last seen here). Of course, when I saw the L&L Burger on the menu, I had to see how it stacked up to its competition. Makeready keeps it simple topping the burger with caramelized onions, American cheese and "burger sauce." If you are looking for any kind of veggie garnish, keep on looking. Pickles are even optional, well not for this girl. Now let's talk fries. Those heavenly potato sticks were crispy and salted to perfection. Needless to say, that stainless cup was completely empty. You might be wondering how it stacks up to the other burgers in Nashville. It was love at first bite and I will definitely order it again (and no sharing this time!)
As if we didn't have enough food, my partner in dine insisted that we order dessert and who am I to say no! While there wasn't a formal dessert menu, our server rattled off a handful of sweet treats and several of them grabbed our attention. But as soon as the server said chocolate cake, I made my decision. Such a pretty dessert. I loved the layers of cake and mousse-like filling, but it was rather difficult to eat. I'd stick my fork in to take a bite and the cake was so cold that I couldn't pull my fork out without a little assistance. Eek! Given that they have only been such a short amount of time, I will certainly give them the benefit of the doubt as they still have some kinks to workout in the kitchen.
As we wrapped up, I inquired about the bar upstairs as I was curious if they have a similar cocktail menu to Makeready. Wanting a quick nightcap, I thought it would be fun to pop upstairs to the Trade Room, after all, the decor and architecture are stunning! Instead, our evening took an interesting turn to the storage closet.
Storage closet, you ask? Yes. It was no secret that I was taking quite a few photos of my food. After chatting with our server, I told her that I was a food blogger. She strongly encouraged me to take a look around and that I could get some great photos in the back area near storage. Admittedly, I thought this was a little crazy. The area was cute and all, but what could I possibly photograph in a storage area. I humored her and walked back there. It quite possibly wins the award for the "cleanest" storage space ever as there was nothing back there but a black doorway. Being a bit on the nosy side, I pulled on the door and surprisingly it opened. Not only did it open, but it opened up to the Hidden Bar. Squealing with delight, I told my partner in dine that we must have a cocktail here.
Literally, the hidden bar had only been open for two days. TWO DAYS! :) There's nothing I love more than being one of the first people to a secret space! Since the door wasn't marked, I inquired as to the name of the bar. The server said that they were calling it the Hidden Bar and it was a tribute to the speakeasy bars of the prohibition, which fits perfectly with the hotel vibe. They kindly request no phones or cameras and guests refrain from snapping photos or selfies. So this is as far as I can take you but give it time and photos will certainly surface.
Need a late night bite? The Hidden Bar has limited food offerings but they are solid. Think biscuits and caviar, tater tots with truffles (be still my heart) and crudites. Looking to quench your thirst? Between the assortment of wines, cocktails and beer on draft, you are sure to find something to please your palate. I had a chance to sample two cocktails: Purple Haze and Show Pony. Purple Haze which is made of Espolon Tequila, Ancho Verde, Dry Curacao and Pomegranate and was much sweeter than I anticipated. Perhaps the mezcal I was sipping on earlier thew me off my cocktail game. The Show Pony, which is currently on draft, is comprised of vodka, Aperol, ginger, and lime. Quite light and refreshing. The Show Pony gets my vote!
Let's welcome Makeready Libations and Liberation to the Nashville food scene. As with any new restaurant, there are always some kinks to work out. Makeready knocks it out of the park with their L&L burger. Not sure what's in that burger sauce, but it will leave you wanting more! If you have time, pop into the Hidden Bar and have a cocktail. It's a great place to catch up with friends!
Tariff: Vegetables and Grains range between $10-$22 and meat, fish and poultry range between $12-$28 with the heartier courses tipping the scale at $28.
Can't-Miss: L&L Burger and Cavatelli
Potential Pass: Carrots and the Chocolate Cake
Tips: If you are dining in the restaurant, make sure you let the hostess or server know that you valet parked and they will give you a sticker for your ticket reducing the overall tariff to $8.00 + tax and tip. I wasn't aware that I should ask so the valet had to run down the restaurant and get it validated.
Until Next Time!