With so many celebrities walking the Music City streets, Nashville is hard to impress. Carrying the title of celebrity chef alone isn’t enough to earn the respect of Nashvillians, who take food and hospitality very seriously.
These seven restaurants are backed by big-name culinary icons. With or without the big name attached, these eateries showcase brilliant flavor combinations, creative ingredients and an exceptional ambience that make them worthy of praise from even the pickiest palates.
Maneet Chauhan’s Chauhan Ale & Masala House
Maneet Chauhan can’t remember a time when she didn’t love cooking. A native of Punjab, India, Chauhan brings the rainbow of spices, flavors and textures from her home country to the global fusion style that is now her signature.
Chauhan competed on The Food Network’s “Iron Chef” and “The Next Iron Chef,” and is now a full-time judge on the network’s Emmy Award-nominated competition cooking show, “Chopped.” The James Beard Award-winning chef opened her first restaurant in Nashville in 2014, aptly named Chauhan Ale & Masala House.
Impeccably decorated with bright, Indian patterns and rich textures, the restaurant’s menu features expertly fused Southern U.S. and Indian flavors in dishes like tandoori chicken poutine, chicken pakora po boy, and Indian “meat-and-three” thali.
Sean Brock’s Husk Nashville
In his 37 short years, Sean Brock has proven himself a superstar Southern chef with a penchant for low-and-slow preparation. In just the past five years, Brock has earned a score of awards most culinary professionals would hope to achieve in a lifetime.
The Virginia-born, two-time James Beard Award winner opened McCrady’s and Husk in Charleston, South Carolina, instantaneously receiving a slew of national accolades. Husk is still consistently named one of the best restaurants in the nation.
Brock opened Husk Nashville in 2013, bringing the restaurant’s renowned flavors to a historic 1890s structure in the heart of the city. His farm-raised roots shine through Husk Nashville’s menu, which embraces the region’s bounty and age-old cooking techniques and re-energizes them with modern flavor combinations and innovative methods.
Donald Link’s Cochon Butcher
Cochon Butcher is Chef Donald Link’s first foray outside of New Orleans. Born and raised in Louisiana, Link started his career as a chef at the ripe age of 15 inspired by his family’s Cajun and Southern home cooking.
You won’t see any TV shows listed on this chef’s resume; rather, you’ll find a staggering variety of high-ranking accolades, including several James Beard Awards (Best Chef South and Best American Cookbook in 2007; Outstanding Chef nominations in 2012-2014; Best New Restaurant for Pêche Seafood Grill in 2014).
With the level of success achieved in his home state, Link ventured into Nashville’s posh Germantown neighborhood to open Cochon Butcher’s second location. At this casual concept, a butcher shop, sandwich counter and wine bar collide, resulting in a modern version of old-world meat markets.
Jonathan Waxman’s Adele’s
A West Coast native, Chef Jonathan Waxman is considered one of the innovators behind California cuisine. He later brought his Cali cooking to New York City, where he earned a stellar reputation as the force of nature behind acclaimed restaurants Jams and Washington Park, both now closed, and Barbuto. With the opening of Adele's in Nashville’s ultra-popular Gulch district, Waxman brings his culinary chops to a region known for hospitality.
This restaurant gets personal for Waxman, who considers it an ode to his mother, Adele. You'll feel like you're joining Waxman for a family dinner thanks to the massive fireplace used to grill, a large wood-burning oven, open kitchen and garage speckled with recycled-wood tables.
A record player supplies the sonic ambience in this former tire store. Try the boneless short rib with polenta, fennel and golden raisins, paired with a stiff drink from the ample bourbon and whiskey list.
Richard Blais’ FLIP Burger Boutique
A “Top Chef” regular, Chef Richard Blais has competed on a slew of cooking shows, coming in as runner-up on season four of “Top Chef” and later winning “Top Chef: All Stars.”
The James Beard-nominated chef translates his vibrant personal style onto the menus of his restaurants, FLIP Burger Boutique (Atlanta, Birmingham, Nashville) and Juniper & Ivy (San Diego). The new FLIP location in Nashville’s Sylvan Park neighborhood brings the chef’s signature spunk and creativity to Music City.The menu features a slew of other-worldly signature burgers alongside salads, milkshakes and a full bar.
Try the Oaxaca burger (Angus beef, avocado, cilantro-lime mayo, queso fresco, pico de gallo), Lamburger (lamb, feta cheese, marinated vegetables, arugula, pickled red onion, tzatziki, garam masala), or Raw Tuna Tartare (asian pear, pine nuts, soy dressing, wasabi mayo, compressed veggies, mango sphere, avocado puree).
Dale Levitski’s Sinema
You may recognize Chef Dale Levitski as the runner up on season three of Bravo's "Top Chef," but this maverick chef achieved culinary acclaim long before his small-screen stint.
With his new restaurant, Sinema, Levitski's extraordinary talent as both a chef and restaurateur shines through—not only is the New American menu a stunner, but so too is the ambience at this former movie palace. Taking up residence in the historic Melrose Theatre, Sinema draws from its building's history with glamorous black-and-gold flourishes to make its patrons feel like Old Hollywood celebrities. And the menu, oh the menu!
Start with the caramelized onion kale soup (with house chips and crudités), move on to an entree like the broccoli butter-stuffed chicken with garlic chile shrimp, escarole and quinoa, and end on a sweet note with the "Honey & Honey"—spiced-baked honey crisp apple with cashew sassafras baklava vanilla ice cream. A concessions menu pays homage to the former movie palace with options like nachos, surf-and-turf bruschetta, pickle chips and chicken-fried steak.
Arnold Myint’s blvd, PM and Suzy Wong's House of Yum
How many celebrity chefs have stylish drag-queen alter egos? We can think of only one—the very singular Arnold Myint.
Born in Nashville to Southeast Asian parents, Myint is the culinary brains behind three thriving eateries: blvd, PM and Suzy Wong’s House of Yum (named for his alter ego). The chef has competed on Bravo’s “Top Chef” and Food Network’s “Food Network Star,” earning the hearts of viewers with both his gregarious personality and culinary expertise.
Perhaps his best known restaurant is Suzy Wong’s House of Yum, which features bright and tasty sushi and Asian-inspired entrees, and conveniently neighbors ultra-popular dance clubs Play and Tribe to help end your night out on a high note.