Matt Bolus' Five Favorite Restaurants in Nashville:
With signature dishes like truffle burrata (pictured at bottom) already legend, Matt Bolus' word is gold when it comes to what to eat:
- Hattie B's - Nashville, TN - "This is by far my favorite place for hot chicken, a Nashville staple. The flavors in their spice rub are perfect and always consistent. The chicken is never overcooked and isn't greasy at all. The heat is also spot on. From the Southern Style (no heat at all), to the So Clucking Hot (you should wear a seat belt for this one), and everything in between, Hattie B's nails it. Don't forget about the sides or desserts either. Banana pudding with a Rompo beer from Jackalope (that's right, they serve local beers on tap at Hattie B's, the only hot chicken joint in town to do this) is one of the finest food and beer pairings ever."
- Martin's Barbecue - Nashville, TN - "Pat Martin, the owner and pit master, is one of the most gifted barbecue masters ever. The passion and knowledge this man has for cooking pork is amazing, as is what he cooks. Try to get there around noon on Saturday when they are opening the pit to remove a whole hog that has just finished cooking. There is nothing like that first pull of meat off the pig, so delicious and rich. You also have to try Pat's cheeseburger and chicken wings; it is the only cheeseburger I have ever craved in my life. The brisket sandwich is also not to be missed. I recommend going on a completely empty stomach or taking several trips there to accomplish the entire menu."
- Rolf and Daughters - Nashville, TN - "I think what Phil Krajeck has created in that spot is amazing. The atmosphere is killer, vibrant but not too loud, busy but not so packed that you are uncomfortable. And the food is, well, simple and spectacular. For anyone who loves the Mediterranean style of cuisine or those who are looking to try it, then you need to come here. Most people will tell you how good the pasta is first, and it is tremendous. All the pastas are made in-house and I have never had one that I didn't just love. But if you go, make sure to order dishes above and below the pasta section on the menu. The starters and mains are equally as delicious as the pastas are, and the sides may rival anything on the menu."
- City House - Nashville, TN - "Sunday supper is all I want to say, but the restaurant and its chef, Tandy Wilson, deserve many more words than that. Rustic and refined all at the same time. Bright, clean, rich, balanced foods perfectly prepared every time. You will never leave disappointed. The pizzas, the pork belly one in particular, are very popular. I particularly love what Tandy does with vegetables, always perfectly cooked, and always thought provoking. I do love their Sunday suppers though. With a menu heavily pork influenced, and geared towards family style eating, I find myself in a state of euphoria leaving the restaurant after one of these dinners."
- Arnold's Meat and Three - Nashville, TN - "By far the best meat and three in Nashville and arguably the south. My biggest problem with Arnold's is deciding when to go. Each day there is a different menu, which I want to eat all of. The roast beef is tender and juicy, the fried chicken is perfectly cooked and always crispy. Then you have the chicken and dumplings, or the kielbasa and cabbage: Which to choose? Several things there that I don't ever pass on are the jalapeno grits (when they are available), the Johnny cakes (just go ahead and put your butter in between them), and most importantly the chocolate meringue pie. This pie always takes me back to my grand dad's farm house where there was always one in the fridge. It was his favorite dessert then, and my favorite one at Arnold's."
Matt Bolus is Executive Chef of the 2014 James Beard-nominated 404 Kitchen in Nashville, Tenn.
For more tasty chef recommendations, check out "My Five Favorite Restaurants in the U.S", where James Beard winners, Top Chefs, Iron Chefs all sound off on their top eateries.