I always request a table in one of the downstairs dining areas as the atmosphere is warm and friendly and there is a good chance you will be seated next to a country music luminary, or even better a group of Tennessee legislators. The country music folks are invariably well mannered and friendly, and the legislators are avid family guys. Usually they will be dining with one of their beautiful young daughters. A lot of legislative children must attend Vanderbilt University.
Once you have been seated, you will be attended to by one of the half dozen waiters that have been with the Kelly’s for years and years. They are old school in as much as they know the menu and services inside out and can anticipate most of your needs. There is a full service bar available and a respectable wine selection. As soon as you have made a beverage choice, out comes one of Nashville’s evil little secrets.
Small, individual sized, hot off the griddle, corn meal pancakes and ice cold creamery butter. Not oleo, not whipped butter with saffron or cloves, not little containers of butter like substance, but real cold creamery butter, and lots of it. Your waiter will bring them as long as you keep eating them. I have to stop after the first serving or I will make a meal on the first course.
As you know, I rate steakhouses on their steaks, not atmosphere or side dishes. Jimmy Kelly’s has very good salads and accompaniments, but I go there for the steaks. At one time or another, I have tried every steak on the menu all of which are very good. The fillets are tender and tasty and the strip is firm and flavorful, but I have finally settled on the 20oz. bone in rib eye. The meat quality is first class and the rib eye is, to me, the most flavorful of all the popular cuts. I like my steaks prepared between medium rare and medium and Jimmy Kelly’s never misses perfection.
An evening at Jimmy Kelly’s is a total pleasure, the surroundings are comfortable and the service solid. For a listing of my steak house ratings, click here.