By Anna Robertson Ham
Gina and Mance moved to Sumner County from Texas in 2003 and, over the years, noticed a need for a place where people and out-of-town guests could have a great meal and enjoy live music without driving into downtown Nashville. After finding the perfect space off the Square in the heart of downtown Gallatin, the Huffmans started a four-year renovation of the century-old building that is now Starr Ranch. Starr Ranch is just north of the Palace Theatre and the location of our beautiful Eat, Drink & Be Merry March issue cover featuring their Smoked Manhattan cocktail.
Gina and Mance wanted to provide a place in Sumner County for people to enjoy “Great food, friends and music.” Starr Ranch offers contemporary southern cuisine. Their menu is broad and their servings are big. It is a perfect place for family dining or a fun date night with dinner and dancing. When you step inside the restaurant, you are welcomed with a casual and eclectic atmosphere. There are deep wood tones, silver wall tiles and in one of the rooms, a mural of Sun Records covers the wall. There is also a stage inside offering live music on Friday and Saturday nights.
I had the opportunity to try some of their menu items, and let me just say… YUM!
On the starters side, I sampled their Fried Green Tomatoes. But these are not your regular fried green tomatoes. They have a surprising and delicious twist. The menu describes it as: Fried green tomatoes served on field greens with pimento cheese, scallions and our very own due south mayo. This dish is a meal in itself. The bitterness of the green tomatoes, crunchiness of the coating paired with the zestiness of the homemade pimento cheese is a combination that will make you say “wow!” You will want the pimento cheese recipe, but let me just tell you now – it is a secret. Mance says his wife, Gina, perfected the pimento cheese recipe and I agree.
The next dish I tried was the ribeye with roasted garlic compound butter, julienne vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes. This is a newer menu item and I think it will be a hit. It is the dish you think of for a true Texas-style meal. Starr Ranch’s ribeye is perfectly seasoned and the portion size is quite generous. Paired with the julienne vegetables and the garlic mashed potatoes, this plate will satisfy the most discerning steak and potato lover.
The final dish I tried was the Blackened Sea Bass. The menu describes it as: A filet of blackened sea bass topped with shrimp sauce and served over rice with broccoli. Now, this is not your normal order of fish. This offers up enough for two! It is very tasty, too. I love blackened fish, so I was excited to try this one out and after doing so – I will gladly order it again. The big flavor of the creamy shrimp sauce is delectable, but not overwhelming to the kick of the blackened flavor. Along with the sizable portion of the fresh broccoli, the balance of flavors on this plate is extremely appealing. If you like fish, shrimp or blackened anything – this is a great dish to try.
On to the Smoked Manhattan – I know you have been craving it since seeing it grace our March cover. This cocktail is not only visually tempting, but delightfully tasting as well. Watching the process of how this signature drink is made was fascinating. The smoked flavor is from burning a wood board and capturing the smoke inside the glass. The smoke bellows in, saturating the glass and then the cocktail is quickly poured in, which is a mixture of Gina’s homemade specialty jam, Four Roses Bourbon and sweet vermouth shaken with ice and garnished with Gina’s own cinnamon pickled cucumber and a Luxardo cherry.
Next time you are trying to decide where to dine, listen to music – or both – check out Starr Ranch. You will truly enjoy it!
170 North Water Avenue
Gallatin, TN 37066
615.451.6961 | starranchgrill.com