You can tell by the velvety layer of Nashville gold blanketing the city that it’s spring. Time to diss cabin fever, don your seersucker and go out on the town. With so many eateries in Nashville these days, it’s easy to get lost in the “where should we go” vortex! Mother’s Day is on the horizon, and decisions need to be made. You don’t want to make a wrong one, when it comes to mama! Let me make it easy for ya… I recently had the opportunity to dine at Nashville’s newest Southern Indian Fusion restaurant, brought to us by none other than the rock star female chef that we’ve all seen on Chopped and Iron Chef, just to name a few, Maneet Chauhan. Chef Maneet is a celebrity for sure, but she is also a very hard working wife and mother of two, residing with her family in Franklin, TN. She commutes to the Nashville location where you can find her working with intent concentration on all of her current and exciting new projects. You might see her intermittently greeting new guests and hugging familiar visitors, adding to the warm vibe. This year, she brought on board the talented Chef Aatul Jain as Executive Chef and partner. Not only is Chef Aatul known for his epicurean talent (another fierce competitor on Chopped), he is also concerned about health and wellness down to the soil of the produce provided in their dishes. You will taste the love in the freshness and bright flavors in each and every bite.
This place is fun, stylish, warm and inviting. Picture urban cool paired with southern charm and laced with international accents of sophistication. There is a great bar for happy hour in the evening, where you can sip a signature cocktail or one of their specialty ales brewed locally in unison with their brewery in Franklin, Mantra Artisan Ales. I opted for the flight, which included four choices. My two favorites were the Saffron, a West Coast IPA with Saffron and Cardamom and the Japa, a milk chai stout-with hibiscus with roasted malts. All four had distinct, yet nuanced flavors, and paired nicely with most of the dishes.
If you love fresh mango like I do, try the Mango Lassi yogurt beverage which is blended into a cool creamy concoction and served in a vintage milk bottle. It goes well with the hint of heat found in the dishes. I urge you to order the Farmers Heirloom Salad, featuring red and gold roasted beets, shaved coconut pachadi, a little aged balsamic and seasoned with sea salt, cracked black pepper and laid upon a bed of yogurt sauce. The salad is sprinkled with red veined micro sorrel and marigold from local farm, CC Garden Microgreens. Thanks Charlie! When all of these colors, flavors and textures blend together you might think you are hearing beautiful live music coming from across the street at 12th and Porter, but it’s your taste buds singing! The Chicken Tikka Flatbread with tandoori chicken, tikka masala sauce and cheese curds topped with baby arugula did not disappoint and went great with the ale! The homage to southern cuisine in the Chicken Pakora Po Boy was much appreciated! The po boy is warm soft Naan wrapped around cool and crunchy fresh greens and red cabbage slaw dressed with a mint chutney and topped with lightly battered tender and juicy hot chicken breast. N’awlins – we have a contender! Looking for something filling and healthy? Then you will be totally satisfied with the warm quinoa chicken salad. If you want to get a variety of tastes from India, try the Indian Meat and Three considered Chauhan’s “ode to Nashville”, including the chef’s choice of meat and assortment of sides and a sweet. The dinner menu offers more variety, sophisticated entrées and decadent desserts. There is a Sunday brunch menu with hangover cure cocktails, a great wine and bubbly menu, and fantastic breakfast dishes. There is also a monthly high tea and cooking classes. Chauhan offers an approachable option for patrons from all over the world to be introduced to both Indian and Southern cuisine. Your mama will be much obliged!