The old wood, wood-fired smell as you come in evokes lawyer's bookcases and first edition novels. The U-shaped bar takes up most of the downstairs floor, but is usually filled with locals. Our first time, they seated us upstairs. I'm not a fan of being stuffy, especially as I eat, but the temperature was mostly mild. The view and "floor entertainment" were well worth it, in any case.
From our perch, we could see the majority of the restaurant and the bar conversations kept us entertained between courses. A particularly loud, short-clad fellow was busy trying to - I'm sure in his mind - subtly pick up the woman sitting next to him. Smartly, she made her way discreetly to the other side of the bar, but not before we heard their entertaining conversation.
Cork & Cow has a wonderful mix of steaks and standards that have a bit of a twist. The bartender that night served Crown Royal to our table like it was water - in other words, to our liking.
The owners sport two other neighborhood restaurants - The Red Pony and 55 South - both of which are on my list to try. They seem to know how to keep a look, a theme, and idea clean and clear and not muddy it with other conflicting things. Likely, having three restaurants within a few feet of each other helps with that, too.
Watch your bill because each item is separate - no bundling of side dishes with the meal. IT can add up fast. We think it's worth it, but better to be warned than surprised.
The desserts are a little uneven, but this seems to be an ongoing theme. We've yet to find a restaurant that's solid from start to finish in Nashville (editor's note: We have since visited The Catbird Seat and can amend that statement.)
The relaxing and low key vibe make you feel like you finally found some place grown up to go.
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