Fork & the Road // Food City U.S.A.
By Andrew Zimmern, Delta Sky Contributing Editor
In the latest issue of Sky, I champion Nashville’s food scene, which has exploded over the past five years. Here are my two favorite oldie-but-goodies and two forward-looking new spots that make the Music City dining scene so special.
Hot chicken is to Nashville eats what the Opry or the Ryman is to its music scene. You’ll find dozens of places serving hot chicken throughout Nashville, but none is as legendary as Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, which has served cayenne-blasted fried chicken for decades.
For a contemporary spin/beautiful homage to hot chicken and other Southern treats, head to The Catbird Seat. The restaurant has just 32 seats, arranged around a U-shaped bar that circles the kitchen, allowing the culinary team to interact with guests as they create dinner. The 10-course menu changes nightly and is ever evolving. One night, you might find a 190-day aged rib eye, other nights, that hot chicken—crispy, spicy, fried chicken skin, sorghum basted and seasoned with small dots of Wonder Bread emulsion. It’s awesome.
Meat-n-three is Southern lingo for a place where you pick a meat and three sides. Arnold’s Country Kitchen, owned and operated by the Arnold family for more than three decades, does it best. Every dish is made from scratch, daily. Think meat loaf, chicken and dumplings and roast beef served with classic sides such as turnip greens, mac and cheese, creamed corn and fried green tomatoes.
The meat-n-three concept gets an overhaul at Pinewood Social. Part bar, part restaurant, part rec hall, there is no better place to hang in Nashville, period. Pinewood takes an elevated approach to nostalgic culinary classics such as those served at Arnold’s. It’s open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and you’ll notice staples such as fried chicken, calf’s liver and onions, omelets and a beef tongue Reuben.
Zimmern is the James Beard Award-winning host of Bizarre Foods America on the Travel Channel and a Delta Medallion traveler.
Photo: Wood pigeon with asparagus tips and caramelized yogurt from The Catbird Seat. Photo by Rosie Birkett.