I suspect when Margot McCormack sees the title to this review she will shake her head and chuckle to herself. She is hardly the kind of person who aspires to be queen of anything. Fred and I had a little visit with her last night when we showed up at her cafe eagerly anticipating a wonderful meal in a magical atmosphere. Because that’s how it is at Margot’s. I have been happy to see Margot in the front of the house lately. I don’t know if she realizes it or not, but by many of us who dine there, she is absolutely adored. She has a nice, easy way about her. To watch her at work is to see a woman who has fully realized what she was meant to do.
Since she first opened she has constantly changed the menu in order to use the freshest ingredients, and to keep herself and her diners more stimulated. When you plan to go you can’t plan in advance what you’ll have. That is good for me because I tend to be a creature of habit. Margot always has vegetarian choices, and I have always found her serving staff to be very helpful when any dietary restrictions.
The food is beautiful. Margot’s cooking is not pretentious, it is simply well-thought out, and lovingly prepared. I was there recently to celebrate my birthday, and I’m sure we’ll be there for our upcoming anniversary. Margot’s is a great place to celebrate an event, or have a quiet, romantic evening. Lately, we’ve been showing up for big evenings and a few small ones, too. Last night we just dropped in and ate early at the bar. We saw people we know, and it turned into a lovely little situation. We had drinks and a light dinner. Fred had Fried Quail, which he was most happy with and I had a salad. Then we shared a cheese plate. Perfect. Brian, the bartender was spot on when he handed me a Paloma, and then steered us to a delicious Spanish white wine. Recently when I was there I had a marvelous hand-made pasta. Heaven. The vegetable plates are always a pleasure as well. Oh, yes…and pizzas. There is usually one on the menu. Don’t miss the olives, if you’re into that sort of thing. And, at least share a dessert. They are served on old-fashion china and are rumored to have belonged to Margot’s grandmother.
Margot McCormack has paid her dues, by elevating dining out in Nashville. When she decided to open a restaurant in 5 Points, it had to feel risky enough, and then 9-11 happened. She did a very risky thing, but it worked. East Nashville is now considered cool, and trendy places are all over the place. But, Margot’s is pretty much the same as it was when it first opened and caused quite a few people to get pretty excited. The cafe is located in East Nashville at 1017 Woodland St. Even though in the Nashville of 2015, parts of East are considered hip and chic, not so much in 2001, when Margot opened. Margot was the reason many of us Westerners were crossing the river, again and again. As happens so often in the world of restaurants a place will open, be great, and then for one reason or another, start to disappoint. This is certainly not the case with Margot. It seems to just get better and better.
Margot’s can be casual, or it can be dressy. No matter what you’re wearing, you’ll feel special when you walk in the door. You probably should get a reservation, but if you drop by you might catch a table on the patio. I forgot to mention how pleasant the outdoor dining is. And, there’s Sunday Brunch. Margot’s is a spot in Nashville you don’t want to miss.
Cafe Margot 1017 Woodland Street Nashville, 37206 615-277-4668