Makeready Libations & Liberation: Where Vegetables Rule
While the name Makeready may be a bit cryptic for a restaurant in one of Nashville’s newest and most welcoming boutique hotels, "Noelle", there is a reason. A make ready is the final proof that gets checked before a magazine or paper goes to the final press run. Located on Printers Alley, Makeready is a testament to the people who worked on the presses in the 40’s. Here is there pledge:
With our backs to Printers Alley, Makeready pays homage to our forefathers—the printmakers, rule-breakers, and publishers who used to call this place home. In printing, a “makeready” is a tool we use to make sure we get it right. Because at the end of the day it all comes back to preparation.
And they have gotten it right. The night we were there, we couldn’t choose between the cauliflower, mushrooms, and beets, so we got them all. And good thing we did. Executive Chef Dan Herget is a master of the vegetable. The “Mushroom” was trumpet mushrooms with a graham cracker crumble made from dried truffles and porcinis and graham crackers pulsed until crumbs then combined with browned butter. If he could be persuaded to jar the crumbles, I will buy it by the gallon. The “Cauliflower” was browned with a caramel made from sugar and Worcestershire sauce from the awesome Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Foods (the only soy sauce microbrewery in the US). The “Beet” was substantial and heavenly with quinoa, cumin, a rich, creamy pine nut sauce and bright pomegranate seeds. The calamari was straightforward but crunchy, light and expertly fried. The vegetable dishes were substantial enough to be main dishes for sure. By the time we got to the entrees Mkt Fish and Chicken, we were stuffed and took most of that home. But when we saw Malted Creme Brulee on the menu, we managed to muster up the energy for dessert.
The restaurant has an entrance straight off of church street as well as one through "Noelle," quite striking in its own right. Originally called the Noel Hotel, the building was constructed in 1929 in the Classic Revival style. Makeready is located on the lower floor, not quite in the basement, but below street level, where through the windows you can see passers-by from an interesting angle. This makes it cozy and intimate and feel a bit like a throw back, in keeping with the 1930’s heritage. While Makeready isn’t marketing itself as a vegetarian or “healthy” establishment, we’ve already sent more than a couple folks there for the vegetable heavy menu.