Gray & Dudley at the 21c Museum Hotel
First word, stunning. Second word, fun. Gray & Dudley, located in the 21C Museum Hotel, is the perfect place to take your girlfriend for a birthday dinner or your new boo for a date. It's named after the building's original tenant, The Gray & Dudley Hardware store. No doubt, they wouldn't recognize the space today. Goats hanging from the ceiling replace the nuts and bolts, and a sleek bar, the old counters. Definitely valet (parking is scarce in Printers Alley), and definitely walk through the hotel where you can feast on a hallway of art. Once in the restaurant feast on the delicious chic American cuisine. The menu changes seasonally, but if they have it, order the Bone Marrow Twice Baked Potato. Not only is it delicious and rich, but it also is served impressively inside the bone.
The plating is art itself. There are reasonable portions, too. We tried a couple small plates and one entrée and were very satisfied. The Nandini’s Grey Garden cocktail is wonderful, but if you like the classics, their gin and tonic will delight you.The staff will gladly inform you of what they like best and will tell you lots of history about Gray and Dudley and will even bring a little teal friend to your table. I tried the gulf catch ceviche, the roasted carrots (which was just added to the menu), and the shrimp noodles, and the steak with mushrooms. Normally, I don’t order steak out, but this was cooked perfectly. It came from a local farm, Black Hawk Farms, and the fish was caught in Galveston, Texas, so everything was fresh.
The menu has much more, though. At a glance it's not for the delicate palate, or the vegetarian. Chef Levon Wallace came to Nashville to open Cochon Butcher. Anyone specializing in cured and smoked meats, Hot boudin, Bacon Melts and Pork Belly sandwiches has a strong palate. Robust flavors and dishes command the menu at Gray and Dudley, including House Bacon and Onion Tart, Roasted Bones, Smoked Catfish Dip, Pork Chops and Steak Tartare. The vegetables (Roasted Radishes and Charred Asparagus) are super charged with a Green Harissa, the spicy Morroccan condiment, and Sauce Gribiche, a French cold egg sauce emboldened with capers and mustard. Levon Wallace is no cream puff, but he sure can make one.
Which brings me to dessert. They all sounded good, but we went with the crème puff which is like a tiramisu in a little shell. The hazelnuts are like little pearls to be discovered inside and the chocolate and espresso crème escapes the shell in just the right amount. There really isn’t anything I didn’t enjoy about the experience. And, I won’t spoil it, but they give you a little, happy treat with your check. Definitely go, enjoy, and relax.
Oh, and if you’re looking for a little extra fun, Gray and Dudley is right next to Printer’s Alley and the Bourbon and Blues Bar.