Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Listening Room

Nashville Restaurants and Food
The Listening Room
217 2nd Avenue South

Hey, Nashville visitors! It’s time for you to spread out a bit and explore the city to the south of Broadway. We call it SOBRO (south of Broadway) and it has a number of cool establishments for eating, drinking and listening to music. The city is growing and unless you get off the Broadway and Second Avenue strip you might be missing out. Case in point: The Listening Room. It’s a large music hall with some innovative food and check this out- free parking! That’s a rarity downtown. The music tends to focus on singer songwriters doing original works mixed in with some covers. There is not enough original music on downtown, so the Listening Room is filling a real need.

The Listening Room is currently serving lunch and dinner. The lunch concept is still building. The room looks and feels like a nightclub. The patio could be inviting in the warm weather, but managers need to invest in some better seating and take the sunny space seriously. The Listening Room could be a good lunch alternative for people who work in SOBRO. The menu is straightforward and the emphasis seems to be making those traditional favorites, burgers, salads and such, with new twists. We appreciate the creativity. The Nash Vegas burger is topped with smoked Gouda, roasted red peppers, deep-fried spinach and Yazoo APA beer enhanced mustard. It’s a good combo, unfortunately on this day the kitchen is a bit skimpy on both the burger and the toppings. The brioche bun overwhelms everything. People expect a big burger these days- don’t downsize the bun, upsize the burger! It’s cooked a decent medium rare with a bit of char for that backyard taste. The house-made chips are crisp and hearty and the smoked jalapeno ketchup is absolutely addictive.

The Listening Room has a small but quite local draft beer selection: plenty of Yazoo, Fat Bottom and Jackalope. You’ll find Yazoo beer mixed into all sorts of items on the menu, including the chili. Smoked wings are a Saturday special. The smoke is mellow and the wings unadorned, letting the grill flavor come through.

Veggie Eater: The stuffed peppers were a treat, as they are grilled, instead of fried, and stuffed with goat cheese. These are accompanied by a sweet onion sauce. I had the eggplant parmesan sandwich, which found the eggplant lightly breaded and well fried and then topped with a light red tomato sauce, on focaccia. There’s basically at least one veggie item in each menu category. What elevates this experience, though, is of course the music. On this day, we had the pleasure of listening to the young and talented Guthrie Brown and what caught my attention was that he was not in fact playing his own song, but was playing Ryan Adams. Enjoying both Guthrie’s voice and Ryan Adams, I tipped him, which then prompted him to ask if I had a request. My request was for him to play his own songs, which he happily obliged, in addition to providing me with a free demo CD. The Listening Room was well worth another visit when we decide to play tourist in our own city.

Meat Eater: The original Listening Room began in 2008 in Cummins Station. This new location is much, much bigger. The concept and location seem perfect. But it will take some serious marketing to pull those visitors off of Broadway and to get the locals inside. We hope they don’t give up on that inventive menu or the concept. It could be a real hit if given time to grow.

I paid $22 with tax, tip and a beer for a solo visit and we paid $50 for a lunch visit together. That’s a bit pricey, although not necessarily out of line compared to the rest of the downtown establishments.
Listening Room Cafe on Urbanspoon


mIKES said...

Good food. Free parking. But what is up with that byzantine set of rules they have for reservations? Can you not just "drop in"??

Eric and Katie said...

we went for lunch, so the reservation thing never came up. That would be a bit weird given the size of the place. anyone else have a problem with reservations? Good to hear from you again mIKES!

Teo T said...

This place sounds worth checking out! The veggie options sounds particularly inventive, and of course the music is a winner- will be giving this a visit next time I'm in the area! Really enjoyed this post, and your others here. I work for a new social blogging site called, and was just wondering if you would be interested in sharing your posts with us there? It wouldn't affect your blog in any way, and I know there are a lot of foodies within our community who would love to read your work here. Let me know what you think!

All the best,