Dining Review: Skull Rainbow Room

September 2019

Skull Rainbow Room – Nashville, Tennessee

Skull Rainbow Room was a last minute add on to our Nashville itinerary. Another recommendation, this jazz club dating back to 1948 has nightly live music and a killer food menu. There are also weekend burlesque shows that require a cover. I knew the second I went to the website we had to grab reservations and we were fortunate to find a time that worked with our schedule. The music begins at 7:30PM so we were happy with our 8PM time slot. 

When we were taken to our table, it became clear that we had the best seats in the house! 

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Front row seats to the show – can’t complain about that. The musicians were all incredible – piano, bass, and drums and while they deviate on Saturday from the jazz routine, these guys played just about everything. Such a great experience. 

Looking around, we began to notice little pieces of history – the original Printer’s Alley sign from the 40s, one of the first menu’s where items only cost a matter of cents, and the list of performs that played on the stage inches in front of us. Etta James, Elvis Presley, Johnny Case, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan – and the list goes well on from there! We were blown away by the history of Skull Rainbow Room.

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Now onto the food. With a menu with items like escargot, foie gras, risotto, tartar – this was not your average bar food. We copied our approach at Etch and ordered a bunch of appetizers to split, then no one had to make a tough decision. Sharing is caring. We grabbed a bottle of Syrah from Colombia Valley in Washington and begun our feast. 

Caesar Salad

Classic Caesar with anchovy, lemon, garlic and coddled egg

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We each started with a salad to help our veggie quota. It was a solid Caesar salad, not too overburdened with dressing, and parmesan crisps are the best creation to reach the salad world.

Escargot

Broiled mushroom caps stuffed with Helix snails, Sherry herb butter and Parmesan cheese

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Oh boy this certainly hits the flavor profile that makes dreams come true. Mushroom caps that are turned upside down and the escargot is sitting in the mushroom hat That is all swimming in a pool of garlic and cheese. This was a deliciously rich dish. And if you have never tried escargot, please do yourself a favor a just try it! You are missing out on buttery goodness that is meant to be shared.

Foie Gras

Hudson Valley Grade A with sweet corn honey Champagne vinegar

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Foie gras on the menu? Yes please. Just look at that pan fried goodness. Yep, it was fantastic. Succulent and juicy with a hint of sweetness from the honey Champagne vinegar dressing – yep it was perfect. I do not think I even tried to corn as I was too obsessed with the foie gras.

Veal Sweet Breads

Poached then fried in potato flour, haricots verts, potato galette

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I think this was our first time trying a dish formally termed “sweet breads”. And while it was not necessarily something we were seeking out, we both knew when the opportunity to try sweet breads came up we would try it so thank you Skull Rainbow Room for checking another ingredient off our list. It certainly did not look like anything too crazy – like little chicken nuggets. Didn’t taste like anything crazy either! Has more of a foie gras consistency but I think the fact that they were fried doesn’t hurt. Sweet bread success!

Crawfish Risotto

Louisiana crawfish tails, Arborio rice, Gorgonzola cheese

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We loved this dish before we even tasted it. Huge bowl of risotto – a very large portion in comparison to the other dishes we ordered and a lower price point (bonus points!). The risotto still had an aldente bite to it while surrounded by a creamy sauce. The sweetness of the crayfish off set with the gorgonzola cheese – both great additions. This is a must get dish at Skull Rainbow Room and definitely edible for the non-adventurous eater.

Duck Empanada

Duck confit, cremini mushroom, crumbled bleu cheese and caramelized onion empanadas finished with a poblano cream and manchego cheese

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This is not at all what I expected this dish to look like. Given the presentation of the other dishes, this felt a bit sloppy given the glowing description on the menu. Luckily, the taste was not reflective of that and the flavors inside were very good. I think it could have benefited from a thicker, fried empanada dough as I think this was baked and that also would have helped these look less sad.

We really took our time eating this meal as we wanted to enjoy the music to the fullest extent. All the appetizers was brought out all at once which was great for grazing on everything. We probably ordered one too many dishes for the three of us to split but at the same time, I am not sure which one we would have cut as they were all great.

Certainly hesitant to get dessert but once our server rattled off the offerings, I was unable to resist. And it also kept us in the seats listening to the band. We split a chocolate peanut butter pie that was just delightful (forgot to take a photo – something I never do! It is as if we never ate it).

Timed perfectly, we concluded our meal as the band left the stage. I was thrilled to have been directed to Skull Rainbow Room. A great venue, extensive history, killer menu, and incredible musicians, this place is an all around hit. Make sure you grab reservations – the place was mobbed and even the bar area was standing room only. As we left, the line to get in or the burlesque show was extending longer and longer – perhaps we should have stayed! Next time, Nashville.

Continue reading about Nashville – Coming Soon!

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