Speical Eats in Nashville
By Kathy Chin Leong
The big city of Nashville is an international community oozing with aromatic global fare and a kaleidoscope of thematic restaurants. You may not think of Music City as a place to indulge in incredible Indian food, but Chaatable will prove you wrong.
Once inside this carnival of vivid hues and saturated colors, you are whisked away to the humid and intoxicating streets of India. Gaily-decorated with bangles, Bollywood posters, and upside down umbrellas, the interiors are reminiscent of a street market where everyone speaks Hindi. The dizzying, 4,000-square-foot eatery was started by power couple, Chef Maneet Chauhan and her husband Vivek Deora, who live in the region and have already started several successful restaurants.
Maneet has also appeared on Food Network as a judge on the TV show Chopped! Chaat is the Hindi term for ‘lick’, and here you will lick and like everything from hand-held bites to full scale entrees. You can get your fill of flavors that run from tangy and spicy to sweet and savory. Try the spice kabob lamb sliders or the Bay of Bengal whole fish.
Don’t worry if your palate is a neophyte to Indian tastes. Knowledgeable wait staff will explain the ingredients to you, and the menu is user-friendly. Don’t miss the adventurous cocktail menu Tamarind margarita, anyone?
Meanwhile, history buffs should nab a bite at the old fashioned, Woolworth on Fifth landmark. This is the home of one of the original Woolworth’s Five and Dime stores with a lunch counter from 1925. In February to May of 1960, civil rights activists staged several sit-ins in a non-violent protest to end racial segregation. This café was one of those sites where black and white protestors refused to budge and demanded service at the counter. The retail portion is gone, and the space has been converted into a full-service restaurant. The counter is still there, preserved in its glory. Photos of the sobering sit-in are showcased throughout the restaurant. This is one place that does not rest on its historic laurels. On the menu are comfort food dishes such as pot roast and shrimp and grits. It is open for brunch, lunch, and dinner with affordable prices ranging from $10 to $27.
Want to combine dinner with live music? At The Listening Room Café, hear the talents of humble musicians who just want the chance to try out new lyrics before an accepting crowd. The place is also a site for experience musicians to wow an audience. Cover prices are usually in the range of $5 to $15 per person, and the venue hosts two live shows a night.
Savor casual American eats and Southern comfort food including pulled pork and hot chicken biscuits. It’s a large, family-friendly, venue with tables set up in front of a large stage. Guests are asked to purchase a minimum of $15 in food and beverage. Drinks and food is fairly priced, and the environment posts a no-smoking policy. Owner Chris Blair opened the café in 2006 since he could not find a venue that had the sound and atmosphere that he felt the Nashville artists deserved.
When you go to Nashville, take this list with you and go to town!
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