Margot Cafe in East Nashville
Margot' has a simple menu, usually one pork, one beef, one chicken, one fish and one veggie entree. Nothing ever looks exciting. but wait... For example, I got a hanger steak with mash potatoes and green beans, with a green scallion relish. Sounds pretty ho-hum, HOWEVER, Margot uses the best cooking and solid preperation techniques that results in the best made meal you could ever have. I always say Margot SOLIDLY PREPARES FOOD. I am a firm believer that a good prep process with a few ingredients makes an excellent dish. For example, I make a roast beef that takes 5 days to prepare with a different step each day, and the only ingredients are the roast, pepper, garlic, molasses, and soy sauce. I get so many compliments on it, but it is the care in the process that makes the dish sing. That is what Margot does, she uses the best preparation techniques to make the simple ingredients the best they can be.
I have a standing order that if I am in Nashville, and there is enough disposable income, I will have my birthday dinner at Margot's. I have tried other places to celebrate my birthday, but I felt cheated and let-down by the experience at other places. Margot's is like the best massage therapist you have been going to for years. One day, for no good reason, you try a new inexperienced massage therapist who is slightly cheaper but is flashy, trying to talk too much about kharma and it becomes clear that it is all smoke and mirrors to cover up a bad massage. And then you have to go to Margot's the next day to get a non-flashy fix to the inadequate experience of others. The menu changes daily, and Margot strives to use mostly organic and fresh ingredients of the season. The most recent trip to Margot's we got a bowl of the homemade chips and homemade aioli. It is fun, and a real treat to have chips with garlicky mayo. Her starters are generally simple and fun. The pizza appetizer was simply a flat bread, like the brick oven Persian flat bread, with arugula, red wine and air cured beef (proscuitto like shaved beef, homemade by Margot), and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. The simplicity and mastery of this dish was fantastic! The beef was soaked in red wine then air cured in the the tradition of Parma proscuitto, and I have no words to describe the delicateness and beautifulness of this ingredient. Main entrees we ordered were the hanger steak and a pork chop, both were created in a deceptively simple way, but so incredibly solidly wonderful. Again, the construction and preparation is the best at Margot's and I believe the hanger steak is the best I have ever had.Nashville has a problem of chain restaurants with Sysco food service food, and that the dishes all taste alike from chain restaurant to low-end restaurant because is it the same food service crap. Margot's defies all of that, and makes every dish with care here. The ingredients are fresh, and since we do not have a decent organic farmer's market here, Margot has to work hard to find the best ingredients. The experience reminds me of being in an excellent and popular bistro in NYC, where the chef goes to the farmer's market every morning to collect the freshest ingredients for the day's menu.
Remember, the menu doesn't look exciting, but the food is very exciting! The food is simple, excellent, fresh and fabulous. See ya there for my birthday!