Considered by some to be the most exiting restaurant between Minibar, DC and and Oxheart, TX The Catbird Seat in Nashville, TN is steadily gaining traction. In what is the restaurant’s second incarnation Chef Trevor Moran’s culinary palette is a blend of his years at Copenhagen powerhouse Noma and his playful Irish charms.
On the second floor of what comes across as a residential building just of Nashville’s famed Music Row, the town’s creative and well-heeled sit perched on bar-stools at this counter-only eatery. The room itself in plain hues of white and green does little to distract from the cooking that takes center stage. Seats are notoriously hard to come by as some sixteen lucky diners each night surround the open kitchen filled to the brim with young and serious looking cooks displaying the pre-requisite sun starved skin, tattoos and wild hair of the modern day culinary wizards.
The food here is equally defined by its simplicity and the kitchen’s willingness to let the locally sourced ingredients speak for themselves. Although The Catbird Seat is not openly Neo-Nordic it is hard to overlook the parallels in Chef Moran’s cooking and that of his previous mentors. Expect to see much of the same techniques, relying heavily on old-fashion conservation such as smoking, pickling and curing. Presentations are often simple, yet sometimes mesmerizingly beautiful. The flavors more often than not are centered around a few, but powerful, main ingredients. A beef tartar covered with hibiscus leaves is a perfect balance of meaty richness and herbal crunch, in what amounts to an equilibrium of mythical fairytale princess and rugged southern redneck.
The Catbird Seat is in some ways the manifestation of Nashville’s as the U.S. hipster foodie town par excellence. Far removed form the self-importance that is currently swooping through similarly talented kitchens in other major cities, Trevor Moran and his team brings an almost childish enthusiasm to every plate. Yet, they seem blissfully ignorant to their own “hipsterness”. My meal here in late ‘14 was one of my favorite ones that year, and it has left me with a yearning to return ever since.
The Catbird Seat
1711 Division Street
Nashville, TN 37203, USA