2014 Best New Restaurants: #3 The 404 Kitchen

Cobia Crudo, The 404 Kitchen
Cobia crudo with pickled strawberries, pea tendrils at The 404 Kitchen
Photo: Robbie Caponetto

Sidled smack up against legendary bluegrass haunt The Station Inn, this shipping container-turned-restaurant in the Gulch typifies the new face of Nashville: It pushes against tradition without getting in its way.

Chef Matt Bolus blends classic technique and a Southern sensibility to amplify flavors you already love. He calls it fresh and uncomplicated, but there’s some cloaked modesty there. From tables crafted out of the shipping crate’s floor to the beef-tallow candles on those tables, everything about this industrial-chic 42-seater blends functionality, novelty, and a little “I’m with the band, but I’m not the rock star” attitude.

For his Tomato Galette, Matt envelops lemony ricotta in a toasted cornmeal crust and piles on heirloom tomatoes. It reads as a twist on tomato pie, but without any pretension.

So it goes. Rabbit and dumplings show up as braised rabbit with stinging nettles over pillowy gnudi. Radishes swim in a hot bath of butter with preserved lemon. Much like Nashville these days, everything is familiar—but new.

THE ESSENTIALS
RESERVATIONS: Recommended. COST: Apps, $9-$16; Mains, $24-$29. ADDRESS: 404 12th Avenue South; the404nashville.com/kitchen