Last week we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. And what better way to do so than at a restaurant it takes 20 years to get a reservation? (Or close to it.)
By sheer luck (or default) we did manage to secure a spot at Nashville’s newest culinary hotbed--The Catbird Seat Restaurant. It features no menu, but an offering of 7-12 courses of whatever the chefs feel like making and/or what’s in season. As a foodie and lover of all things new in the dining experience, they had me at “porcini Oreo.”
Unfortunately, the only reservation available in this decade was on a Thursday night at 9:30 p.m. We didn’t get seated until after 10, which is usually the witching hour for people with jobs and kids, so I preface the entire experience with that caveat. Once we were seated, we were immediately plied with several of the most delicious courses paired with interesting libations that I would never have been able to remember later save the graph/flow chart that they give you on the way out.
Among the offerings I can remember was an oyster in cucumber water that tasted like the sea, a cow liver braised in an onion cream sauce that tasted like the earth, and a dessert of, “Wood grain sponge cake, maple jam, Birch cream, and pine snow” that I swear was a spoonful of the forest. It may have been one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten, and certainly the closest you could ever come to opening your mouth outside and taking in a big, luscious bite of Mother Nature’s pantry.
There were a couple of things that may have been better left outside to the elements (the beef cheek was a miss along with some mead that tasted like Beowulf brewed it) and that may or may not have contributed to my nausea that lasted the weekend. But so much was so right with the experience (and it was more than a meal, it was a journey) that I will assert that the 27 saltine crackers I ate over the next two days were worth that one small plate of aerated foie gras with Meyer lemon mostarda, St. Germain pudding and pumpernickel.
Just maybe not at midnight.