During the 2010 Restaurant Week, Tracy was fortunate enough to get reservations at Jimmy Kelly’s along with her good friend Tyler. This was quite a feat since the restaurants participating in Restaurant Week were booked solid for the entire week. It must have been meant to be that we were able to sample some of the best food that Jimmy Kelly's has to offer. Tracy was definitely left wanting more. Tyler suggested that she and Brian come back for their “J’ restaurant. So, Tyler, this post is dedicated to you!
Jimmy Kelly’s has been serving some of the finest steaks in Nashville for over 75 years. As we walked up the steps under the awning, it felt as if we were about to enter an historical landmark. On any given night you can find the who’s who of Tennessee having dinner, or sitting at the bar with Mike Kelly himself!
This week we were joined by two of Tracy’s great friends, Melanie and Jamie. They had already eaten but came to keep us company. Our waiter came by as soon as we were seated with a charismatic welcome. He took our drink orders - scotch for Brian and a cosmopolitan for Tracy - and left to give us a chance to peruse the menu. Melanie, a regular at Jimmy Kelly’s, was happy to give us suggestions, while our waiter brought out a plate of their famous corncakes with butter. Delicious! The four of us downed an entire plate before we ever placed our order.
The waiter recommended the fried gulf oysters as an appetizer. Unfortunately, they never arrived. Luckily we were too involved in our corn cakes to notice. In fact, we didn’t even realize our lack of an appetizer until a couple of days later when Tracy was describing the meal to her mom! We definitely won’t hold it against the restaurant since we obviously both forgot about it!
For her meal, Tracy ordered the half fillet with a house salad ($19.75). The fillet came with a choice of baked potato or fries. Tracy chose the baked potato. Her steak came out perfectly cooked and her potato steaming with a side of sour cream. Nothing fancy, just a leafy garnish. That is definitely the restaurant’s appeal; you can expect your meal to be just that, with no smoke and mirrors.
Brian, always indecisive, chose to go with the mixed grill - a combination of half filet, salmon and jumbo shrimp - seasoned to perfection and garnished with greens and a half lemon. The kitchen must have run short on shrimp because two lobster tails found their way onto Brian's plate. It felt like drawing the "Bank error in your favor" card from the Community Chest pile in Monopoly. Every bite of steak was tender and juicy, melting in Brian's mouth. The lobster tails were fresh and delicious and the salmon topped with seasonal butter flaked loosely to the touch. Steak fries were the perfect accoutrement to the, well…steak!
For dessert, our waiter rattled off the choices but as soon as we heard “blackberry” we were sold. The Tennesse Blackberry Cobler, “Fresh Tennessee blackberries topped with French Vanilla Ice Cream” ($7.75) arrived at our table with two spoons. Brian told the waiter it was one spoon too many. He definitely wanted it all to himself! Quite possibly the best dessert the alphabunch has seen thus far, the blackberry’s seemed fresh picked and the ice cream didn’t stand a chance on the piping hot, homemade, buttery crust.
With a myriad of fancy restaurants in town one-uping one another, garnishing their steaks with one extravagant ingredient after the next until they ultimately overpower the flavor of the steak, it was incredibly refreshing to dine at a white tablecloth restaurant where the steak itself was the star of the plate. As good friends often do, we shut down the restaurant and were the last to leave. As we walked out of the dining room, we were met by none other than Mike Kelly, who made sure we were satisfied with our meal. Now that’s what we call great service! It is clear that Jimmy Kelly’s is one of the gems of Nashville restaurants.
Pros: Small town atmosphere, service with a great big smile! Valet parking
Cons: Appetizer mix-up
Location: Louise Ave. off of West End.
Food Quality: Simply delicious
Drink Quality: Strong, proceed with caution!
Service: Genuine eagerness and attention.
Ambiance: Friendly and upscale, great for people watching.
"K"an't wait for "K!"