The Omni Hotel in Nashville opened up last year, and it brought four food and beverage venues with it: Bob's Steak, Barlines, Bongo Java, and Kitchen Notes. Bongo Java is a locally owned coffee shop which is my favorite coffee shop in Nashville, and now Bongo Java has a bright nice and new location downtown. Bongo Java is owned by Bongo Bob, who strives to provide fair trade coffee, and good wholesome baked goods. Bongo Java delivers just a straight forward cup of coffee (I like just a basic large cup of coffee) as well as foam, no foam, soy, milk, almond, flavored, no flavor, espresso, drip, press coffee. The way you want your coffee in cup sizes you know (small, medium and large), Bongo will deliver. I hope the guests of the Omni Hotel enjoy this coffee as much as I do. I applaud the Omni for choosing a local fair trade coffee shop to represent their coffee option, rather than some generic ubiquitous green and white coffee option.
I was invited to a Nashville Food Bloggers party at Kitchen Notes last month. I was a little skeptical because some hotel restaurants are (woof woof), but I was pleasantly surprised about Kitchen Notes. The biscuits, service, main course and dessert was very tasty. I am always a bit wary of hotel restaurants, as many of them just stink because they cater to a captive audience (so they can still serve crap and people will have to buy it anyway or starve), but there is no reason to wary or leery of Kitchen Notes at the Omni Nashville. On this Nashville Food Bloggers party, we got to try all sorts of biscuits and jams to top them, bacon and bison meatloaf with mashed potatoes and creamy kale, and sour cherry tarts.
Biscuits in Nashville are a tough business because there are a few places that are just SO GOOD at biscuits, and one might as well not compete unless one can bring it on. The Omni Nashville decided to "bring it". They have a biscuit bar in Kitchen Notes with all sorts of biscuits including plain, cherry, cheesy, jalapeno, maple bacon and more! I was able to have a plain and a jalapeno, and both were really good. The biscuits were warm, fresh, fluffy on the inside, and just golden crispy on the outside. These biscuits are really good. The Nashville Food Bloggers universally enjoyed the biscuits at the party.
The main course that I liked was the bison meatloaf with bacon in it. I am guessing the bison has less fat than beef or pork, so the chef had to add fat to it, so bacon and bacon fat it is. On this the bison meatloaf came with mashed potatoes and creamed kale. Kale is abundant here in Middle Tennessee all winter long. If the doctor says eat more leafy greens, and it winter, you bet your bottom dollar that you can get kale. Kale is a hearty winter green, and can be used in many ways, kale salad, kale saute, kale juice and creamed kale. 2 winters ago, trying to eat only local veggies through the winter, I probably ate pounds of kale every week. I am still burnt out by kale, but that did not stop me from enjoying the creamed kale at Kitchen Notes. I have never had creamed kale before, and never thought to do that. I learned something new, so next winter I may try my hand at creaming some kale.
For dessert, we had a choice of mockingbird cake or sour cherry pie. As one who actually dislikes cake (I know, weird but true), I opted for the sour cherry pie. I loved it. I liked the top crispy lattice crust. I liked the sour cherry filling. I liked the crust and filling together. I was so full before dessert came, but I managed to eat my cherry pie anyway :).
Then, after dessert, we went over to Barlines, the honky tonk style bar at the hotel. It is big and roomy, the stage has live music ever night, and there is a lot of whiskey to be had. I liked the bar too. It is big, airy, and clean, and the bathrooms are nice too. Not to say that some of the downtown older establishments aren't, but maybe the older establishments plumbing may have seen better days. So this particular evening, the music was a little loud, so it was hard to chat. Maybe it is good for conventioners who just want to sit with each other and not really carry on a conversation, cuz they are sick of each other (seeing each other day in and out). But, taking to the bartender, she said they make their own mixers. They do not use pre-made corn-syrupy stuff, they make their drinks from scratch. I tried a honey lemon whiskey creation and it tasted fresh, with real lemon and honey (not corn syrup). I did not drink too much of this tasty treat because I did have to pack it up and go to my car and drive home safely.
The next stop, which I have not tried yet at the Omni Nashville, is Bob's Steak and Chop House, only open for dinner. Bob's is only open for dinner, and I am guessing that this may be a little more pricey than the other 3 options at the Omni Hotel. When I do go, I will have to blog about it and let you know how it is.