The Catbird Seat - Nashville, TN
The Catbird Seat. Every time I sat down to put my experience here into words I struggled. It was such an amazing dining experience filled with great service and flavorful dishes. I keep reliving those moments in my mind and it's one of those once-in-a-lifetime adventures I will always remember. If you're in Nashville, put The Catbird Seat on your bucket list. Right. Now.
Because you have to do some planning to score a reservation. The Catbird Seat is a 22-seat open kitchen restaurant and reservations are available a month ahead at a time. They are also only open Wednesday through Sunday. I almost thought I couldn't make it since Wednesday was pretty much the day I could go and I couldn't find an open spot at first. I got lucky and snagged one right when I needed it.
From the moment I walked in I felt like a VIP and the friendly service just kept coming. Although they do offer wine pairings specially selected for each dish, they offered me celery soda and sparkling water. Some places can make me feel bad for not ordering the alcohol, but I'm not just a huge drinker. The Catbird Seat was so chill about it and I was able to try something new. The celery soda smelled like celery so I wasn't sure how it would taste. It ended up having a mild celery flavor that was balanced by a lemon-lime citrus flavor. It was light, refreshing and delightful.
As you can see every dish was a small plate so I felt satiated but not full afterwards. It was enough to give you that perfect bite of some pretty interesting flavor combinations. Every time I would think "This dish is my favorite", the next could come out and top it. You definitely have to be open-minded to a foodie adventure. The Prof would not have enjoyed this as much being a "meat and potatoes" kind of guy. You don't even order anything. You just sit and watch the magic unfold in front of you. Each dish gets served by Executive Chef Ryan Poli himself or one of his fantastic team members like Rob, Colby or Jonathan (or Josh...I can't remember). They give you a rundown of what special ingredient they got a hold of and how they made what you're about to enjoy. It was such a great way to see my food come together within a few feet from where I sat. Watching the crew was like watching a synchronized kitchen dance as they worked their way around each other and on to the next course.
I'm still at a loss for words on how to describe each and every dish in detail because everything was just special and spectacular in their own right. I'll share one example though, the spaghetti. Sounds normal, right? Get this, it was a seaweed spaghetti topped with a scallop bottarga and a yuku kosho. You're probably thinking, what on earth could that be. Trust me when I say it smelled amazing and looked amazing. The spaghetti was made with seaweed flour and had a tender and familiar bite to it. The scallop bottarga was a sprinkle of crispy scallop shavings on top of the spaghetti, similar to bread crumbs, but scallop bread crumbs. Then as if my mind couldn't be blown enough, the yuku kosho was this cirtus-soy flavored sauce that brought everything together. And that was one out of 10 dishes plus the "cookies" in the end. Seriously ah-ma-zing.
You have to, like in a bad way, check out The Catbird Seat at least once in your lifetime. I'll admit it was a little pricey, but in comparison to similar pre-fixe places, it's a steal for the ultimate foodie experience. Even as a table for one I felt part of the action and two hours later I wondered how time flew. But time always flies by when you're having fun.