Cork & Cow: Fine Dining in Franklin, Tennessee

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Cork & Cow by angela roberts

Great food is what Jason McConnell is known for. He has etched out culinary fame in downtown Franklin with three restaurants a stone’s throw from each other, and they are all good. The Red Pony is upscale casual with a great bar that you can eat. 55 South is super casual with Cajun bent and great oysters. The Cork and Cow is probably a little more special occasion, although if I could I’d eat there all the time.

Cork & Cow stands out not just from the other venues, but from all Williamson County restaurants. While most of our restaurants give homage to the South and lean heavily in Southern themed food, the Cork and Cow takes us closer to Napa Valley in food and wine.

As of this writing, the Cork and Cow tops my list for fine dining in Williamson County.

It’s beautiful, cozy, intimate, has amazing steak, salads, greens, oysters, wine, service, and a few surprises. I never thought I would see bracciole on a menu in downtown Franklin, prepared better than I’ve ever had it.

At first, it didn’t make sense to me to have a more rustic Italian dish in a fine dining restaurant as the special, as it’s a rolled steak with breadcrumbs, parmesan and they added in a red pepper sauce that was surprisingly good, adding complexity to a simple dish. You can also find gnocchi, caprese salad, and wagyu meatball appetizer. The Cork and Cow may be known for steak and wine, but its Italian dishes are superb.

Cork & Cow by Angela Roberts

Our table was peppered with surf and turf  (lobster and filet) and dry aged New York Strip steak, all perfectly done, yet I kept taking bites of that bracciole.

We started with drinks before we moved to wine. The drinks are interesting and balanced and the wine list makes the “cork” of cork and cow proud.

Cork and Cow by Angela Roberts

Cork and Cow in Franklin by Angela Roberts
Grand Sapphire -House infused rosemary gin, Grand Marnier, fresh lemon, vanilla bean, agave nectar

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The starters were memorable. I’ve had red beet salad many places over the last few years, and this was the best one to date, and I was sorry we were sharing because I wanted it all to myself.

Cork and Cow Restaurant in Franklin by Angela Roberts

The side of green beans (a modern take on green bean casserole) made with fried shallots and crispy beans is a must order.

Cork & Cow

Surf and turf was another special of the night. It takes me back to a time when men wore suit jackets out at restaurants, and people ordered food with gusto.

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This is the restaurant elegant enough for a woman, yet the menu is man food with finesse.

I like things that are retro and mad man like (big hair and dresses).  Thus, it’s fitting that I ordered an old fashioned and an aged New York strip steak.The steaks are oak and hickory grilled and there is quite a variety, including their signature tomahawk, a little too big for me. Each steak can be accompanied by tempura lobster, Maine lobster, scallops, traditional Oscar, or grilled shrimp. There are also flavor options such as gorgonzola horseradish or black truffle butter. I opted for the default lemon butter and sea salt. Honestly, I though the steak was so good, it didn’t need butter.

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Reservations are required, but I also observed some more casual diners eating at the bar.

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The most striking part of the decor is this tufted green booth. The interior designer of Cork and Cow deserves a toast for their whimsy, drama and comfort, rolled into one.

Cork and Cow by Angela Roberts

The Cork & Cow is located in downtown Franklin, that small, quaint (rich) little town just south of Nashville and still considered kinda sorta part of the greater Nashville experience. If you live in Nashville, you’ll come visit a few times a year just to walk around during the various festivals. If you’re a tourist, you have to put downtown Franklin on your list of things to see and do. I live six miles from downtown and feel blessed to live so close to such a charming town. 

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Franklin, a pinnacle Civil War batter. You can visit three historic and remarkable places which will bring that battle to life.  The Lotz House, the Carter House and the Carnton Plantation. You will get to visit a real mansion of a man who built his home without slaves, (Lotz House), the Carter House, who’s backyard hosted the battle, and the Carnton Plantation, that was turned into a hospital and sits adjacent to a civil war ceremony.

You could spend the day touring one or all three of these, walk around the town, and have a wonderful, elegant, hardy steak dinner at the Cork and Cow.

The Cork and Cow is located at 403 Main Street, Franklin, TN.

Cork & Cow on Urbanspoon

Note: This meal was paid 100% by Spinach Tiger. Please read our policy for restaurant reviews here.  All opinions are our own, and we choose to only write about places we believe our readers would enjoy._

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4 Comments

  1. I went to brunch at 55 South a while back, and they actually seated us in Cork & Cow! Since both are McConnell properties, and C&C didn’t have a brunch, I got to sit in the luxe steakhouse while I had my waffle. 🙂

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