Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mason's & Mason Bar Bring Upscale Southern Fare To Loews Vanderbilt Hotel

Nashville's Loews Vanderbilt Hotel plans to offer guests and locals a taste of the south with the opening of Mason's & Mason Bar.  While technically open since May 9th, the new establishment formally introduced themselves to members of the media last night by showcasing their pre-prohibition-style cocktails, beer flights, and plates from their exquisite menu.

Under the leadership of executive chef, Brandon Frohne, Mason's menu offers an interesting twist on down home, good ole southern cooking.  The dishes I had included A Devil Of An Egg - a deviled egg garnished with bacon jam and mustard seed caviar, Fried Green Tomato - topped with crab, field peas, feta, and smoked pepper aioli, Beef Tartare - served with pecan romesco atop dill pollen potato chips, and last but not least, Crab Corn Dogs - a spin on a classic, served with a delicious Mississippi "Comeback Sauce."

Aside from the food, the restaurant / bar also offers a great assortment of beer and pre-prohibition-style cocktails that are sure to suit the fancy of any southern belle, strapping lad, or yankee alike.  The beer menu offers a healthy balance of local craft breweries such as Yazoo, Turtle Anarchy, and Mayday, along with an appropriate amount of staples such as Stella, Blue Moon, and Samuel Adams - which I imagine are there to establish familiarity for less adventurous travelers.  The bottle menu also offered a wide span variety from Budweiser and Coors to Chimay Grande Reserve (Blue), Ommegang Biere d'Hougomont, among others, which again ensures something for everyone.

Of the cocktails I tried, my favorite was the Canna Manhattan which features Woodford Reserve Bourbon and a tasty cinnamon infused sweet vermouth.  I also enjoyed the Mason Julep - a unique concoction of Hennessey, sorghum syrup, and spiced cherry bitters, the Sound Connection - a refreshing blend of organic vodka, Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur, lime juice, and Angostura Bitters, and Sweet Lucy - a sweet and tangy cocktail comprised of Absolut Mandarin Vodka, dry vermouth, lemon juice, and orange bitters.

Overall, I was quite impressed with Mason's.  From the food, to the drinks, to the southern hospitality, there is truly something special about this restaurant / bar.  While it may be easy for some to write off Mason's as simply a hotel bar, it is much, much more than that and is certainly worth a visit for any local or visitor.

Mason's & Mason Bar is located in Loews Vanderbilt Hotel at 2100 West End Ave., Nashville, TN 37203.  For more information, please visit Mason's website: http://www.masons-nashville.com

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