The Southern Steak & Oyster, the new downtown restaurant on the ground floor of The Pinnacle building, comes to us by way of Nashville restaurateur and movie-set catering veteran Tom Morales of TomKats Inc.
Sneak Peek: The Southern Steak and Oyster: The latest culinary creation from well respectedNashville restaurateur and movie set catering veteran Tom Morales, is set to open on April 18 onthe ground floor of the Pinnacle Building in the SoBro district of downtown Nashville.
The Southern Steak & Oyster, the newdowntown restaurant on the ground floor ofThe Pinnacle building, comes to us by way ofNashville restaurateur and movie-set cateringveteran Tom Morales of TomKats Inc.In charge of the kitchen, you’ll find MattFarley, who previously worked at The LovelessCafe, a property that Morales helped re-brand.
How did you learn to cook? I started as a dishwasher in upstate New York. Then I moved to prep cook and eventually worked my way around the several stations in a few restaurants. In 1996, I moved to New York City and went to The French Culinary Institute. I worked around the city a bit and became the chef at The Noho Star, where I stayed for about seven years. So to answer the question, by doing it and keeping my mind and eyes open.
What’s your culinary philosophyat The Southern? The culinary philosophy at The Southern is much like what is in my background, which is a huge focus on ingredients. The Southern will source as much product from local farmers as possible. We are getting beef and some pork from Bear Creek Farms (Williamson County), eggs from Willow Farms (Lawrence County), Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese (Barren County, Ky.). We will also be direct sourcing shrimp, crab meat and some oysters from Louisiana. Sustainability is very important to our company. As much as possible, we are using green products, paper goods, detergents, etc.
What are some of your favoriteitems on the menu? Obviously, I like a bunch of the items on the menu, but if I have to choose, I’d say the jumbo lump crab cake with hominy- red pepper relish and chili-lime beurre blanc, or roasted halibut with sweet potato, Falls Mill grits, braised cabbage and tasso vinaigrette. Or the Bear Creek 14-ounce rib eye steak. All the steaks are top notch!
What’s the biggest surprise guestsmight experience about dining at TheSouthern? I think people may be surprised with some of the twists and interpretations on some Southern classics. Tom Morales came up with The Southern’s moniker, “South of Somewhere,” which leaves a door open for us to do whatever we want on the culinary side. I have an absolutely killer support staff with a very eclectic background that we will draw from to help create what this restaurant will be.
If you could cook for anyone, whowould it be? I would probably want to cook for my wife and children, because I usually NEVER cook at home, and my wife hates to cook! I would make them whatever they wanted to eat.
What are your favorites at the moment inthe following categories: ingredient, tool,book. Ingredient: The head-on shrimp we are getting from Louisiana. Tool: Seven-inch shun vegetable cleaver. Book: My favorite book for a long time now is Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry Cookbook (Artisan, 1999).
If you could choose your finalmeal, what would it be?That’s a tough one, but probably a pizza from Nino’s in New York City, and a good beer.— Jennifer Justus,The Tennessean