Merchants Restaurant is in an historic building in downtown Nashville. The 3 story building has a casual bistro and bar on the first floor, a steak house on the second level and private dining on the third story. In 1988 Ed Stolman opened the restaurant as an upscale dining establishment. In 2010 on the brink of closing again, Benjamin and Max Goldberg assumed control and started to make changes, but never closed. This 19th century building (1872) started as a 3 story pharmacy but has hosted a restaurant for 125 years now. We ate lunch on the large street level floor which has 2 rooms divided by a large u-shaped bar. Dark painted wood floors are well worn and complimented by black booths/chairs and the dark wood bar. Brick is on many of the walls and there are lots of windows out to the street. Oscillating fans hang from the ceiling, the tables and bar are topped with white marble, music is in the background and there is some wonderful old tile on some of the floor. Booths are divided by plastic partitions for Covid 19 and the staff is well masked. Service was super friendly and not rushed.
While deciding on choices tables are brought a container of popcorn seasoned with a “Hidden Valley Ranch” type of mix. It was crisp and a fun snack.
A classic Spinach Artichoke Dip was served with lots of crisp tortilla chips. The chips were lightly salted and held up to dipping in the spinach which had small pieces of artichoke within. It was topped with melted cheese and creamy underneath. It was an easily split dish and more than enough for 2. The flavor profile was mild.
Steak Frites was plated with mixed greens, fries and maitre ‘d butter. The beef was a choice of cuts and we chose the 12 oz. NY strip. It was cooked as ordered, rare and sliced in the kitchen. The butter topping helped as it was not a particularly well marbled cut but it was reasonably tender. Alongside were mixed greens but they had no dressing so they were a tad dull but good color on the plate. The fries were nicely seasoned and crisp. Overall it was fine but not noteworthy.
Dessert was peach cobbler with butter pecan ice cream. It was a generous scoop of ice cream on top of the hot cobbler, which was more cake-like than some. Inside were slices of peaches that were still a tad firm. Drizzled on the top and the napkin underneath was caramel sauce. It seemed odd to coat the napkin with it. It was a good sweet fix for an ending and I enjoyed the cake and ice cream part but the peach was not a strong flavor for this one.