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The Catbird Seat - Nashville

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I'm looking forward very much to my dinner at The Catbird Seat next week, and would appreciate any of your comments to enhance the experience.

Specifically, I'm interested to know more about the beverage options. What more can you tell me about what they serve and the serving sizes? Do the pairings comprise 7 different drinks - one for each course? What are the non-pairing options? What are the non-alcoholic drink options?

The Catbird Seat web-site says the following: "We offer optional beverage pairings. The standard beverage pairing is $40 per person, the reserve is $75 per person, and the non-alcoholic is $20 per person. A small reserve wine list is also available for you to order from."

One Chowhounder last month remarked: "great, creative and insanely well-priced drinks matches."

Thanks.

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  1. I can't answer ... I have my first visit planned for next month! If you don't get an answer here, you might post on the "open thread" that will be posted tomorrow on the Bites blog for the Nashville Scene web site. There will be a post about a topic, but it will be labeled Open Thread and comments/questions of any type are OK. I know at least a few of the regulars have been, so you might get an answer there.

    Also, I've gotten answers to questions I had by emailing the general contact email address on their site, they are very friendly and happy to answer questions.

    1 Reply
    1. re: TLF

      Thanks for the referral to the Nashville Scene. The review from December does talk a little about the beverages, and I'll see whether a post elicits any more info.

      http://www.nashvillescene.com/nashvil...

    2. I went two weeks ago and it was fantastic. We had a 9 course meal with pairings. I went with the reserve and I thought it was worth it. My dining companions chose the standard pairing and had nothing but great things to say as well. I know nothing of the non-alcoholic pairing. The pairings consisted of wine, beer and cocktails and were extremely well done. I hope you enjoy your trip to The Catbird Seat as much as I did. If I had a reservation I would have gone back the next night.

      1. Well, dinner last week at The Catbird Seat was super. A fantastic tour through two of their tasting menus with two different beverage pairings. The team there does a really wonderful job. Arriving at 6:30, we were there for nearly 3 and half hours. Diners’ arrivals are staggered throughout the night to avoid a crush, and of the places at the counter, about 6 had a second seating (although at no time were all 32 counter seats occupied); both corner banquettes had groups of 6 diners each for the evening. After dinner, you’re presented with a take-home listing of all the courses.

        A great meal, a great experience, and - despite what may be a difficult-for-some-folks-to-embrace $100 price tag per person for the food - a great value. This is a big-city ambitious and impressive food experience going on here, at significantly less than a big-city price. The non-alcohol and reserve alcohol pairings at $20 and $75, respectively, were good values, too.

        While the chefs typically get all the glory in our Iron Chef culture these days, Jane Lopes deserves a special call-out. She crafts incredibly innovative beverage pairings. Part sommelier, part mixologist, and part alchemist, her choices and blendings were really special and enjoyable, and included some very interesting selections. I’ve not experienced anything like she’s doing anywhere else.

        Highly recommended. And looking for an opportunity to go back again!

        Note: They change out 2-3 items each week to keep the menu constantly evolving and reflecting the best ingredients. So you probably shouldn’t expect the same exact courses. Our favorites this night: the Tartar of Beef, the Halibut, and the Kale Soup.

        => Standard menu with reserve alcohol beverage pairing ($100 + $75). A different pour with each course.

        Amuse: SAVORY OREO made with a porcini cookie and parmesan crème filling

        1. TRIO of a Chatham OYSTER on the half shell with cucumber and yuzu vinaigrette, CORNBREAD ball with bacon, and a special riff on HOT CHICKEN with spices and dill on a wonder bread crisp
        - Beverage: dry Riesling with sake and maple syrup, carbonated and served with a lime

        2. TARTAR OF BEEF with juniper, horseradish, burned bread, smoked roe, and rosemary
        - Beverage: Marc Hebrart brut rosé (France) with quince vinegar and honey

        3. RAMP VICHYSSOISE made with pickled habanero vinegar, with pork belly, micro carrot, watercress, and violet flower
        - Beverage: 2008 Trimbach Gewurztraminer (Alsace, France)

        4. HALIBUT with fava beans, sorrel, and black garlic and lemon pudding drops
        - Beverage: 2008 Cave Caloz Heida (Switzerland)

        5. PIGEON with white asparagus, shaved porcini, pigeon liver mousse, lovage, and charred green asparagus jus
        - Beverage: 2008 Muhr-van der Niepoort “Carnuntum” (Austria)

        6. LAMB with onion milk, toasted curry oil, charred peaches, and morels
        - Beverage: 2007 Doamine J. Despesse Cornas (Rhone Valley, France)

        7. Hay-infused caramelized YOGURT with strawberries, toasted wild rice, and chamomile jelly
        - Beverage: Tripel Karmeliet beer (Belgium)

        8. CUSTARD with maple syrup and a bacon crisp served in an egg shell
        - Beverage: gin cordial with Marina Espumante (Spain)

        9. Pineapple GELEE, vanilla CAKE, oak ICE CREAM with an opal basil leaf, cherry crisp and bourbon balls
        - Beverage: 2001 Hetszolo Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos (Hungary), in a Black Maple Hill bourbon rinsed glass

        Mignardise: OREO made with a coffee cookie and crème

        => No meat, no dairy menu with non-alcohol beverage pairing ($100 + $20). A different pour with about every other course.

        Amuse: SAVORY OREO made with a green apple gelee cookie and tofu with olive oil crème filling

        1. TRIO of a Chatham OYSTER on the half shell with cucumber and yuzu vinaigrette, hot water CORNBREAD ball with honey, and a HOT POTATO with spices and dill on a wonder bread crisp

        2. Minced MUSHROOMS and TOFU with sliced truffle, juniper, burned bread, smoked roe, and rosemary

        3. KALE SOUP made with coconut milk and pickled habanero vinegar, with grilled oyster mushrooms, pickled micro carrot, watercress, and violet flower

        4. HALIBUT with fava beans, sorrel, and black garlic and lemon pudding drops

        5. Caramelized SEITAN with white asparagus, shaved porcini, lovage, and charred green asparagus jus

        6. COD with toasted curry oil, charred peaches, and morels

        7. Hay-infused caramelized YOGURT with strawberries, toasted wild rice, and chamomile jelly

        8. Soymilk CUSTARD with maple syrup and a carrot crisp served in an egg shell

        9. Pineapple GELEE, vanilla CAKE, cherry SORBET with an opal basil leaf, cherry crisp and bourbon balls

        Mignardise: Peanut butter NOUGAT

        NON-ALCOHOLIC DRINKS. Sorry for the lack of detail on these, but they weren’t documented on the take-home listings.

        • Bitter lemon with maple syrup
        • Lavender infused juice
        • Cherry and clove infused juice
        • Fizzy bitter lemon cordial

        3 Replies
        1. re: njfreqflyer

          Updating to say that I went last week and it was a blast. I've posted a detailed description on my blog, in two parts:

          Part 1: http://singlegrrlkitchen.blogspot.com...
          Part 2: http://singlegrrlkitchen.blogspot.com...

          1. re: TLF

            TLF -- I enjoyed reading your blog post. You captured the experience very well. I was there last week too, for my second visit! I thought that chicken was great. My friend went for a full vegetarian menu this time, and loved it as well. We skipped the beverage pairings this time around (although we really enjoyed them on our prior visit), and selected a bottle of Gruner Veltliner from their (small, but very nice) wine list. The GV satisfied us through the whole tasting.

            1. re: njfreqflyer

              Yes my friend keeps saying, "Wanna go back tonight?" LOL I'm afraid it will be a while before I have the scratch for a return visit, but I'll definitely do it. Maybe something like a once-per-quarter splurge.

              The interesting thing is that next month I'll be starting a new job that involves travel. One of the regular stops is in Chicago. I'm thinking that a visit to Alinea will be in order ... heh. I was thinking I might be able to squeeze in a visit to Charlie Trotter's, but he'll be closed by the time I get up there. I'm also excited about the prospect of going to Rick Bayless's places, including the new super-fancy one that also has a tasting menu option.