Sinema Restaurant and Bar — Photo courtesy of Anthony Matula / Sinema Restaurant and Bar
Sinema Restaurant and Bar, helmed by award-winning chef Dale Levitski, has recently opened its location in the old Melrose Theater on 8th Avenue in Nashville. While the city's food scene continues to earn high praise, it's recently become host to an excess of farm-to-table restaurants with rustic, country chic décor. Don’t get us wrong – we love these incredible establishments. But it’s high time for a new concept to enter the food scene in "Music City."
Enter Sinema. Housed in the Melrose Theater, which was built in 1942, Sinema is divided into two sections. Upstairs, the lounge gives off a sexy, '70s rock and roll theme. The lounge offers nooks and crannies where you can hide away with a cocktail and a date or an entire group of friends. The walls are lined with book shelves, comfortable couches and projector screens playing old films.
Downstairs, the restaurant area takes on an Old Hollywood, Art Deco theme, with large black-and-white photos of Cary Grant, Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean. The historic theatre still retains several original elements, including the ticket booth, theater doors, hand railings and reflective walls and ceilings.
Each section of Sinema has its own menu. Geared towards the after-work and late-night bar crowd, the lounge serves small plates, while downstairs is set up for entrees and a more traditional dining experience.
With Chef Dale Levitski at the helm, Sinema’s menu is impressive. Levitski is a lifelong Chicagoan, where he cooked at Orange, La Tache and Sprout. He’s also a household name, thanks to his run on Top Chef, where he clinched the runner-up spot on the third season of the show.
Over the course of 15 years cooking professionally, Levitsky has received four Jean Banchet Award nominations, including Rising Star Chef, Celebrity Chef and Best Neighborhood Restaurant (twice). He has cooked twice at the James Beard House by invitation.
After a lifetime in Chicago, Levitski decided it was time for a change last October. He took a hiatus from the culinary scene in the "Windy City" and spent some time as a guest chef at The Resort at Paws Up in Montana.
When Sinema's owners Colin and Brenda Reed, brothers Ed and Sam Reed, Austin Ray and Q-Juan Taylor decided to open a restaurant in the old Melrose Theatre, they knew they needed to recruit an all-star chef, and Levitski was one of their top picks. After wining and dining him in Nashville for a weekend, Sinema’s owners convinced the chef that Nashville’s growing culinary scene was a great next step.
No doubt, Levitsky will make waves with his menu at Sinema. If you get a chance to try it, start by making a reservation. And don’t miss out on the licorice salad, fried octopus or Bear Creek short ribs.