We had nothing but the best at Sinatra Bar & Lounge recently, when we enjoyed our Pours & Palates tasting experience with them. Opening its doors this past spring and a part of Icon Entertainment & Hospitality, this fine dining restaurant is in the Southern Turf building in downtown Nashville and gives a nod to “Ol’ Blue Eyes” himself. Showcasing a 1950s atmosphere, with moody lighting, swanky décor, photographs and artwork tributes to Sinatra throughout the establishment, as well as live music featuring the best of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack… Sinatra Bar & Lounge takes you back in time from the moment you step in the door.
We were welcomed for our tasting and found ourselves immersed in a beautifully curated menu, with favorites from Executive Chef, Lorenzo Reyes, and Corporate Executive Chef of Icon Entertainment & Hospitality, Bryan Lareau. Along with the tasting, I also had the opportunity to learn more about Bryan and his journey in the culinary world.
Bryan has worked in many different types of food service, from fine dining steakhouses, resorts and hotels, sports and entertainment venues, country clubs and has even owned his own catering business. “I love the classic French technique... Marco Pierre White, Anthony Bourdain, Gordon Ramsay, Charlie Trotter and nouveau chefs like Grant Achatz and Ryder Zetts,” Bryan says. His approach to creating new dishes is ongoing and he says it’s an art. “We are always learning and challenging ourselves,” he explains. “Constantly trying and tasting everything with an open mind...seeing where the flavors take us!”
Bryan became involved with Sinatra Bar & Lounge in January of 2023, when he began working for Icon Entertainment & Hospitality. “Lorenzo Reyes (Executive Chef) and I worked on plating together, but all the offerings are of his design,” says Bryan. “I think they’re all fantastic but, of course, I’m a bit biased. I would have to say the braised short rib with pappardelle pasta is my favorite. That smooth whipped creamy ricotta, the wide pasta and shredded braised beef in a rich braising liquid reduction... I am salivating just thinking about it.”
The diverse menu features some of Sinatra’s favorite Italian recipes. Treated to so many swoon-worthy dishes, it was hard to pick my own favorite, but I will give you some of the highlights from the experience, starting with the cocktails. The Come Fly With Me is crafted with Lunazul Blanco Tequila, Torres Magdala Orange, Lavender Syrup, Bitter Truth Creme de Violette and lime, and had a uniquely floral and fruit-essence flavor while also showing off its light jade color. The Sultan of Swoon with Grey Goose Le Citron, Grand Marnier, lime and Fee Brothers Cranberry Bitters was an invigorating and refreshing drink, with a sweet citrus flavor.
With the appetizers, my highlights were the Calamari, Meatballs and Caprese Salad. The Calamari fritti was served with spicy aioli and was the perfect crispness with spice and texture. The Meatballs are served with marinara sauce, salsa verde and shaved piave. The marinara was a smooth, yet rich flavor, as if it had been simmering on the stove all day. The Caprese Salad was served as a tomato tartare with burrata, heirloom cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and green herb oil. It was a taste of Italy with the appetizer dishes alone!
Turning to entrées, I will start with the one I am still craving: The Ragu Pappardelle, served with braised short rib, whipped ricotta, Grana Padano and basil. Chef's kiss! It was a dish of rich flavors and hit all the high notes if one is craving pasta and flavorful meat. Another entrée we tried was the Iberico Secreto, which is a serving of Iberian pork, salsa verde, arugula and Meyer lemon. If one wants to veer away from the classic steak but still wants red meat, this is your dish. The Walnut Crusted Halibut with Marsala sauce, seasonal vegetables and green emulsion was another that made the top of my tingling-tastebuds list. Presented as nothing short of a work of art, the flavors were equally as masterful.
One of the many sides we enjoyed was the Roasted Gourmet Mushrooms with parsley butter, Grana Padano and breadcrumbs. These are a beautiful compliment to any of the entrées. Another we dove into was the Zucchini Fries with cornmeal, fines herbs, Aleppo pepper and zucchini aioli. This is a meal on its own! I loved the flavor kick it had from the pepper.
We finished off our evening with the Tiramisu, served with a coffee macaron, fresh raspberry, cocoa powder and micro mint. It was marvelous and brought the classy to a classic. One could compliment this dessert with an espresso and be ready to dance the night away to the tunes of Frank Sinatra.
If nothing but the best is good enough for you, then you must make your reservation at Sinatra Bar & Lounge and prepare for a unique experience. Learn more at sinatranashville.com and, as Chef Bryan says in Sinatra style, “Come fly with us; come fly, come fly away!”