The Catbird seat is a tiny 32-seat restaurant, located on the second story of an old building outside of downtown Nashville. They serve a prix fixe menu of about 10 courses. One of the most coveted reservations not just in Nashville, but in the entire country. Here’s our take.
Julian: Going into our dinner at the Catbird Seat, I was admittedly a bit skeptical. From their bar, to their website, to their general concept (everything centers 100% around the food and the chefs), to their inability to accommodate a late add-on to our party, I figured this would be another one of those places that was totally full of themselves.
Jesse: I shared Julian’s skepticism, and walking through a psychedelic tunnel before entering the restaurant didn’t help, but as soon as we were seated, the personal, refined service, which lacked pretentiousness, had me caught. The somm, Adam – although he was probably 6′ 4″- bent down to speak to us at eye level, and the cooks were frequently kneeling beside us to explain their dishes.
Julian: And these were some seriously cool dishes. Not just because they included interesting techniques, but also (and more importantly) they had amazingly complex flavors. One dish that sticks in my mind was a halibut dish with grilled and raw cucumbers, kombu, phytoplankton and country ham stock. Unlike most dishes, which slightly dull in flavor as you keep eating, this one gained in complexity with each bite. My last bite of fish was the most interesting of all. I don’t know how they did that, but it left me a little bit in awe.
Jesse: A favorite dish of mine was the pigeon. It was a simpler dish than the halibut, with less complex and unexpected flavors, but the meat was so moist and evenly cooked I had to ask the cook who prepared it how she cooked it. I expected her to respond with some sort of brine followed by sous vide and roasting, but all she did was sprinkle some salt and pepper on it, brush it with oil, and grill it on a big green egg (not to mention outside in the rain). Being able to connect with the cook who prepared each dish on a personal level was an essential part of making my Catbird Seat experience memorable.
Julian: I agree. The personal attention and true sense of caring they displayed for each customer was unlike any restaurant I’ve visited. Although the whole experience centered around the food, they didn’t take themselves too seriously and they realized that we were there as much for the company we were with as we were there for the food.
Jesse: Check out our photos of a couple of the dishes we had, and you can see their awesome menu as well. If you’re not already, follow us on instagram: jessenjulian_barbareño for more pics of food and our travels.