My husband and I along with two friends finally made it to The Continental this past weekend. Celebrity chef Sean Brock’s latest concept is a fresh take on the traditional Old World restaurant…and now home to the best slice of meat I’ve ever tasted.
I immediately commented to my husband as we entered the dining room and observed servers rolling around prime rib carts, that the place seemed like an ode to Simpsons in the Strand, a London restaurant founded in 1828. I’d call the vibe of the place historic-mod.
As our server led us to the table, I also noticed that the hospitality at The Continental was top notch. The comments made by servers and staff were somehow more elevated than other fine dining restaurants in the city yet still warm and friendly - not a hint of slobbery here. Our friend had commented when booking our reservation that he wasn’t a big red-meat fan. The Continental had noted this in their system, specifically pointed him to the best entree items to accommodate, took the preference in stride and with class throughout the meal.
When our cocktails arrived, I was not disappointed. My Pimm’s Cup was simply perfection. Sprinkled with decorative garnishes, I’m not sure exactly sure how the cocktail ingredients were made, but freshness was apparent. This may have been the best alcoholic beverage I’ve ever tasted (and I would consider myself to have some level of expertise in alcohol consumption). If you don’t think The Continental’s prime rib cart will be your cup of tea, its definitely worth a visit to the bar at a minimum.
The Continental has a prixe fixe dinner format. You only make a selection when it comes to entree and dessert. For me, the appetizer course was just OK. I’m told the oyster starter was delicious, but I passed not being one who can stomach the texture of oysters. Next, we had a salad and a cheese pastry. Both were good, but nothing I would go back for…a bit on the bland side (which was fine because I was sucking down every last drop of my cocktail).
For my entree, I selected the prime rib, I could see other diners being served from the prime rib carts rolling through the restaurant and it looked delicious. I was not disappointed. This prime rib might have been the best thing I have ever taken a bite of. I cannot even explain how good this prime rib is. It doesn’t even taste like meat, it’s like a whole new class of food was unveiled to me. Cooked to marbled perfection, with a bit of salty crunch sprinkled on top, I would eat this everyday (if I wasn’t concerned about my budget or cholesterol level). It’s 100% worth it to forego all dietary concerns and go for it when it comes to The Continental prime rib.
The only drawback of The Continental is the cost. This isn’t a realistic every-other-Saturday kind of restaurant for most Nashvillians. Plan on spending about $200 per person at minimum to eat here and have a couple drinks per person (you’ll also still have to pay the babysitter when you get home). While it is expensive, the experience and food quality is certainly in line with the cost.
Given the cost of this decadent meal, its likely foodie Nashvillians will visit once, then maybe again when family and friends are in town. Taking the plunge and splurging on that initial meal is worth the cost for those who enjoy an elevated dining experience. Order the prime rib.