Open since October 2011, The Catbird Seat has captured the fancy of Nashville fine-dining aficionados like no other new restaurant in recent years. Certainly no new restaurant has garnered such national media attention in such a short period of time, with 2012 Best New Restaurants slots for Bon Appetit
, Best New Chefs of 2012 in Food & Wine
, as well as the James Beard Foundation national semifinalist nod. You'll need a reservation - they're taken 30 days out - for the pricey (although relatively bargain-priced by big city standards) seven-course small plates tasting menu, which changes nightly. From an ownership group headed by brothers Ben and Max Goldberg (who also head the ownership group of the downstairs faux-speakeasy cocktail bar The Patterson House), aptly named The Catbird Seat features 32 seats in a starkly decorated space surrounding the U-shaped kitchen. All the better to watch, and chat with, the talents chefs, with Trevor Moran (ex sous at Denmark's renowned Noma) taking over as executive chef after a stretch as sous under original co-chef Erik Anderson after Josh Habiger departed. (Anderson left at the end of 2013 to open his own restaurant in Minneapolis, following Habiger's departure months early to head the kitchen at the Goldbergs' south-of-downtown hot spot Pinewood Social.) Staggered seating times make the experience all the more intimate. As for the food, expect creations that draw from the chefs' expertise in farm-to-table cooking and playful molecular cooking. Think snacks such as a crispy hot chicken skin and a savory porcini mushroom Oreo cookie. Fish and meat small plates consistently dazzle. Divine desserts resemble miniature works of art. Set aside two and a half to three hours for the experience, and definitely partake in the wine flight.
"The Catbird Seat is perched above The Patterson House, Nashville's finest cocktail joint, and stands out as a hybrid of highbrow cooking and chilled-out Southern charm."
- Jessica Glavin, GQ