Le Sel, a New French cuisine restaurant in Midtown, opened in October 2015 as part of the Strategic Hospitality restaurant group owned by brothers Ben and Max Goldberg. Last week, Elizabeth Fox, Alex Hendrickson and I were finally able to make it in, and our expectations were exceeded on all fronts …
Finding ourselves indecisive on what to order for lunch last week at Le Sel, as it all looked so good, we had the sincere pleasure of Max Goldberg ordering for us. Lunch turned into a two-and-a-half-hour tasting of most of the lunch menu — sometimes we luck out with perks of this job, and we were more than grateful! The entire experience left us craving our next meal from this Midtown eatery located in the Adelicia, which is serving up seriously great food under the supervision of Jason Brumm, director of culinary operations for Strategic Hospitality (SH). In our fast-paced world of go-go-go, being able to sit and linger over a French meal with Max proved one of our highlights of 2016 that will be hard to beat.
Before I have you salivating over photos of our feast, you need to know the story behind why this food tastes so good. When vacationing in France, something that is enjoyed by all is the French cuisine. It’s delicious, and it’s also some of the most regulated food in the world. The way the food is made, sourced and presented is overseen by French law, food societies and tradition. This leads to the best butters, the freshest seafood and breads like nowhere else.
At Le Sel, the quality of the food similarly starts by how it is sourced. An emphasis on both responsible and fresh ingredients is the cornerstone of what makes this food stand out; it all starts with how it enters their kitchen. As Max explains, it’s impossible to create world-class food without world-class ingredients. Le Sel sources locally when possible, and they purposefully source sustainably, so diners are assured that their oysters and seafood are harvested responsibly and their meats are from animals raised ethically. As Le Sel is under the Strategic Hospitality umbrella of restaurants, they are able to form partnerships with respected purveyors, guaranteeing business to many of their restaurants’ kitchens.
As we sat in our plush, pink velvet booth, listening to French music play, observing oysters being shucked for our order at the raw bar and enjoying the blend of traditional French decor mixed with modern local and international art, our group was struck by the unique yet comfortable approach the Le Sel interiors provide. It ends up being the perfect companion to the menu options, as each presents something familiar with an undercurrent of pleasant surprise.
And, of note, Le Sel continues to be highly in demand for dinner, so consider booking in advance. But for now at least, lunch and weekend brunch are a bit under the radar. Many restaurants of the Le Sel caliber simply don’t serve a weekday lunch, which makes the experience that much more special. And, with a price point no more expensive than the crowded lunch spots of Bricktop’s and J. Alexander’s, we’re speculating that the ease of currently getting a table for lunch at Le Sel will cease as word gets out. We suggest taking advantage now for business and celebratory lunches to even a post-tennis meal (yes, white tie to workout clothes are acceptable and seen simultaneously among patrons!).
Now, get ready for your hunger pangs to begin …
SANDWICHES (note: these are only available on the lunch menu)
We were impressed by pretty much everything at Le Sel and are now among the growing crowd of cheerleaders for this Midtown restaurant that has made French cuisine fun and approachable, while maintaining the high expectations that French food deserves.
Le Sel is located in the Adelicia: 1922 Adelicia St., Nashville, TN 37212. Valet parking is available. It opens at 11 a.m. Tuesday through Friday and at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. It closes at 11 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday and at 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.
For more information or to make reservations, see leselnashville.com.
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