Deacon's New South
As fate would have it, Nashville’s hottest new steakhouse makes its home in Nashville oldest skyscraper. The Life & Casualty Insurance Company, was constructed in 1956 and was the first major construction in downtown after World War II. As Nashville’s first modern skyscraper at 409 feet and 31 stories, it still carries the neon initials L&C. Step into the art-deco interior of the iconic building at 4th and Church--an elegant space inspired by the Prohibition era’s more sophisticated speakeasies – and you’ll find yourself in Deacon’s New South. It’s an upscale yet casual dining experience that is centered around dry-aged steaks, locally sourced produce, vintage cocktails and sommelier-selected vintages for its world-class wine selection.
Chef Sparks operates a collegial kitchen that nurtures and brings out the best in his sous chefs and line cooks. They're continually experimenting with seasonal ingreidents and new dishes. Chef Sparks provides modern twists to Southern classics like chicken and hominy with tomatillo, avocado and jalapeno and braised collards with cider vinegar and Gifford’s bacon. Instead of shrimp and grits with shrimp on top of grits, he purees dried shrimp and folds into the delicate grits that also contains chunks of fresh shrimp. Topped with caramelized shallots, its intense and heaven. A starter (that they were still playing around with in the kitchen), contained pickled baby turnips, micro greens and baby lettuces on top of a house cured meat—the produce from the garden at Homestead Manor, a sister restaurant in Thompson Station. The fried trout was breaded, crispy and plump, served on toasted bun with cabbage, kewpie mayo and nori. The homemade fries were as good as anywhere, served hot with a sprinkling of yellow nutritional yeast and sea salt.
Chef Sparks believes in fostering relationships with local artisans and farmers, keeping the focus on all things fresh. “Whatever we have available every week,” he observes, “is what we’re going to play with.” And, when playful is plated well, the results are a flavorful feast.
The interior--re-imagined from an old bank--takes advantage of the concrete floors, old tile and large windows. The two bars are gorgeous, one providing an awesome view of burgeoning downtown and an ambience of days past and the second in the dining room with a view of the aging room and the open kitchen. The hallway just off the elevators leads to the intriguing dry-aging room, where hunks of meat hang in various stages of aging. It’s the largest in the South and provides the ideal humidity, temperature and air flow to age steaks perfectly for that meaty, sought after, dry-aged flavor. Executive Chef Travis Sparks is no stranger to the profession of abattoir, having grown up on a farm in North Carolina. The emphasis on dry aging and charcuterie is fully in his wheelhouse. In addition to dry-aging steaks, they make all manner of sausage and house-cured meats.