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The Catbird Seat Restaurant

Nashville, USA

Well-travelled chef reinterprets American cuisine

Why go? This intimate counter restaurant helmed by Ryan Poli is American with global influences including Japanese and Italian. The chef trained under Rene Redzepi in Denmark and worked on Noma's pop-up in Japan, with spells at The French Laundry and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in the US and El Celler de Can Roca and La Broche in Spain. 

What to expect: The tiny restaurant is centred around a U-shaped dining counter where the chefs take centre stage, serving a globally influenced tasting menu that is rooted in American produce. Think sake-marinated cauliflower with cashew purée, turnips and aged beef fat or fermented celery root arancini piled with slivers of black truffles.

How to get a table: There are only 23 seats, most at the counter, with reservations released in monthly blocks at midnight. So it's really a game of whoever clicks fastest wins, especially for prime times.

Behind the name: The 'catbird seat' is an American expression meaning to have the upper hand.

What else? Poli helped set up charity Pilot Light with several other chefs, working with schools to improve food education.

Images: Dishes and portrait by Jeff Kuack

On the pass

  • Ryan Poli

Style of food

  • American with elements of Japanese and Italian

Standout dish

  • Sake-marinated cauliflower, cashew purée, turnips, aged beef fat