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Dec 20, 2013 10:57 AM

Most memorable dish in Nashville this year (2013)?

I ask because I'm sort of lamenting that The Catbird Seat may never be the same in a couple of weeks. With Josh already departed, and Erik leaving for PDX at year's end, who knows ...

Which brings me to my answer, I think the most memorable dish I had in Nashville this year was the Pigeon dish at The Catbird Seat. The pigeon itself was marvelous, but to pair it sour hibiscus leaf and crispy salsify (!) was revelatory.

So Pigeon at The Catbird Seat was no doubt my most memorable Nashville dish, and probably a very very very close second would be the deep-fried short ribs at Etch.

What is yours?

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  1. I had the pigeon at Catbird this summer. I'd eaten at Catbird a couple of times before but that was my first encounter with the pigeon. "Memorable" is definitely a word to describe it. I was surprised at how much I liked it, but I can't say it was my top dish. That same meal had a concentrated cube of short rib that was actually the best thing that night.

    I'm always hard-pressed to name any one thing as definitively "best." I had a lot of great meals in Nashville and elsewhere. In Nashville, in addition to Catbird, my favorite meals were at City House (several, always), Etch, Gray's (except dessert), Rolf & Daughters. I was especially fond of the shrimp & grits at Gray's and the pork ragu at R&D. The best dessert I think was the buttermilk pie at Husk - far outshone the rest of the meal both times I've been.

    2 Replies
    1. re: TLF

      Agree with you on all counts TLF about "best" which is why I conspicuously avoided using the word.

      "Best" is so hard to define and so controversial. I used "memorable" as a rough proxy to gin up the dishes that people will remember 2013 by vis-a-vis Nashville.

      Anyway, back to the food. Have you tried the deep fried short ribs at Etch? It made me weak at the knees.

      I'll have to try the buttermilk pie at Husk sometime.

      Happy holidays.

      1. re: ipsedixit

        I haven't had those short ribs. I'll have to add that to my to-try list!

    2. I finally tried the fried chicken at Husk today. Easily one of the best dishes taste and value wise I've had all year.

      The pumpkin flower quesadilla and the huitlacoche (corn fungus) quasdilla at Fogatas ranks as some of the best food I've had in Nashville, ever.

      1 Reply
      1. re: pete k

        Jealous, me I am.

        Happy New Year to you and yours.

      2. I'll go in a different direction here. Not fine dining but burgers. Had the opportunity to try Brown's Diner, Rotier's and The Pharmacy all within the calender year and loved all 3 burgers.
        I would rate Rotier's as the best. It was exactly as the Classic American Cheeseburger should be. Simple, tasty and juicy. FWIW, Mrs. Sippi said they make the best Pimento Cheese she's ever had. She did ask them to make it PC only on white bread not toasted.
        I will put The Pharmacy at second but with an asterisk. On the menu they say they cook to "medium to medium well." Sadly mine came decidedly well done and not particularly juicy (but not really dry either) which is a shame because it was otherwise outstanding. If this is actually the norm then I'd probably drop them to third. If they really do cook with some pink it may very well be first.FWIW, the Brautwurst that Mrs. Sippi had was easily the best I've had. Fabulous especially when you put the default mustard on.
        The Browns Diner burger was, again, a nice simple, juicy, tasty burger. Just wasn't quite good enough to crack the top 2.

        I will point out that we live in Toronto but the in laws live in Huntsville so we're in/around Nashville often throughout the year. It seems to be a well above average food city.


        4 Replies
        1. re: Davwud

          Huntsville ... the Beverly Hills of Alabama!

          Kidding aside, I agree that Nashville is a gem, and underrated when it comes to its food scene.

          I always look forward to my Nashville trips.

          1. re: Davwud


            I was a former resident of Hamilton and Scarborough many years ago. I frequently visit Toronto whenever I get a chance.

            Next time you're in town, try the cheeseburger from Husk, and the burger from Silo. Two of the best in the city.
            I'm also a big fan of the local lamb burger at Fido.

            1. re: Davwud

              I once joked to Mama Rotier that if they and Brown's wanted to put on a Best Burger contest I'd be glad to join the judging panel. Turns out her sense of humor doesn't go that way … or didn't (since I don't know if she's still with us). But whichever one I was eating was my favorite. Have not had either one in several years, but whenever I did I was always happy about it.

              Momentary winner, though, was Johnny Potts at the Sutler on 8th, who had resisted having one on his menu (he hated them) for twenty years or more, then gave in ca. 1980-something. It was the best. Then the jerks that bought the building shut him down. That's not why we left Nashville, but it could have been.

              Yes, we get even more pleased with the food scene every year we come back, and it just gets better and better. Husk and some others were great last year, but the best and most surprising were that veggie Indian place out West End (which we remember as the site of Way Out West) and Arnold Myint's Blvd or however it's spelled; its previous incarnation, Cha Cha Cha, had been disappointing, but Arnold has learned to design the culinary structure and then turn it over to a good hired chef. Worked beautifully.

              1. re: Will Owen


                That would be the Woodlands Indian Restaurant in that funky building at the corner of Murphy Road and West End, just by 440. Great lunch buffet, but the dinner service is better.

            2. The Husk wings with Alabama white sauce would make my list.

              I was disappointed to find no pigeon on my visit to The Catbird Seat. The poussin dish they served was very nice, but the fried poussin leg was even better. Coated in honey and fresh chives - it was crazy good.

              1. The creamed collards at Capitol Grille, spiked with wasabi iirc.

                1 Reply
                1. re: prima

                  prima, do you live in Nashville? am visiting in late Dec. / early Jan. and would love your recommendations.