Mack and Kate’s is tucked on the corner of a multi-use area just past the intersection of Moore’s Lane and Franklin Road. Condos are cheek to jowl with restaurants and retail and it is all wrapped up with a bow.
Of course that does mean that there is a lot going on and not quite enough parking places, so I did find myself taking several laps around the lot before I found a parking space. You may want to leave yourself a bit of extra time before dinner to account for this.
The inside of the restaurant has kind of a classy barn dance feel to it. Crisp linens are contrasted with rough-hewn tables and wooden chairs. This gives it an upscale country feel that is actually quite pleasing.
Mack and Kate’s on local, seasonal ingredients, so the menu changes every couple of months. I dined there with some business companions so we go to order a range of items.
The appetizer section had the most obvious nods to southern cooking with deviled eggs and fried green tomatoes on the menu. Right along side of those were blackened shrimp skewers, crab cakes and white truffle parmesan french fries (yum!) so there are options for everybody.
Mack and Kate’s claims to be famous for their Lobster Mac and Cheese so our waiter suggested that we do this for an appetizer to try it and we also added the fried green tomatoes.
The Lobster Mac did not disappoint. Rich and creamy and made with enough butter and cream to enrich it and my cardiologist! Perfectly browned on top and with a healthy portion of lobster it was truly decadent. I am actually glad that we did this as an appetizer because it would have been too rich for me to finish comfortably myself, but this allowed us all to enjoy a taste of it.
The waiter was kind enough to get the kitchen to add another tomato to our order since the normal portion was three pieces…which is terribly difficult to split four ways! The presentation is very pretty with the tomatoes layered with pimento goat cheese and a sweet pickle chow-chow over the top.
The dish was not very successful. The chow-chow was too sweet and while the idea of pimento goat cheese a lovely move to upscale a southern classic, the whole was just too heavy. The dish desperately needed some acid to cut through the thick goat cheese and breading. I loved the idea, but it did not quite follow through in its execution.
The entree portion of the menu is broken into sea and farm sections with 7 options for each. Our table split the middle on that. Two of my compatriots opted for the pork chop while one chose the shrimp and grits. After a bit of waffling I chose the bouillabaisse.
Holy shellfish that is a big bowl of bouillabaisse! The double thick bread resting on top is smeared with remoulade and you will want it to soak up this broth.
A couple of big scallops, PEI mussels, shrimp, fish and andouille sausage were all swimming in a broth that tasted like it had been simmering for days. For me this was easily the highlight of the meal.
My companion tried the pork chop with mango peach habanero sauce (this particularly greedy person said it was so good they were not willing to share) and the shrimp and grits which were also very good.
After the amount of rich food that we ate I had absolutely no room for dessert. The list for sweets changes daily and I will be stumbling back to try that soon.
In a fun little twist, they had a huge jar of gum balls at the front door rather than mints for you as you exit the door.
Mack and Kate’s has a cool, upscale country vibe and that is the theme that they carry into their food. Elevating southern fare seems to come pretty easily to this family of restauranteurs. They are not afraid to take some chances and it is a risk/reward proposition. When it is good it is really good…and occasionally it falls a little flat. However nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Mack and Kate’s is definitely worth another trip…if for no other reason than to try those desserts!
If you make it in to Mack and Kate’s before the end of July, mention the code word BANG to your server and you will receive a 20% off of your entrees!
Mack and Kate’s
3078 Maddux Way
Franklin, TN 37069