The Catbird Seat

1711 Division St, Nashville, TN 37203, USA

It’s one of the hardest reservations to score in the country, but not just because of its diminutive size (22 seats in all) or limited days of operation (Wednesday to Saturday; dinner only). For one, the Catbird Seat feels both intimate and exclusive: Guests are seated at a U-shaped counter that surrounds a central open kitchen. Then, there’s the thrill of the unknown. Strategic Hospitality, the Nashville-based restaurant group started by homegrown entrepreneurs Ben and Max Goldberg, has hired a roster of notable chefs for extended stints, giving them carte blanche to create whatever inspires them during their tenure. Among them: Trevor Moran, an alumnus of Noma in Copenhagen. Since January 2016, Chicago-born chef Ryan Poli (another Noma vet, who also trained at the French Laundry) has held the reins, calling upon influences from his two-year stint working in kitchens around the world. A couple of recent hits: an umami-rich black truffle risotto made with sunflower seeds instead of rice, and noodles made with nori and spiked with zesty yuzu.

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This restaurant, perched above the also stellar cocktail bar Patterson House, keeps guests intrigued and entertained with an inventive seven-course tasting. Chefs cook and interact directly with diners in just 22 seats around an open kitchen.

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