- Complimentary salmon hand roll when you dine at the restaurant
This year, restaurateur Sarah Gavigan decided to transform her Gulch eatery Little Octopus into Bar Otaku, a sister restaurant to her popular Otaku Ramen. Bar Otaku was inspired by Japan’s traditional izakayas, those casual pubs where people gather after work for food, drinks, and companionship. Gavigan returned to her native Tennessee in 2012, after almost 20 years in L.A., and found, to her horror, that Nashville was ramen-less. Setting out to rectify that situation, she discovered that the city sits on almost the exact same latitude as Tokyo, yielding many of the same vegetables and similar flavors. Drawing on local produce and meats, Bar Otaku is turning out soul-satisfying dishes like lotus root chips, fried chicken, pork belly, vegetable curry, and so much more. Edible Nashville calls Bar Otaku “a captivating establishment…The vibe is happy, the food playful, delicious, and perfectly balanced on the line between authentic and new", while Eater Nashville has included it as one of Nashville's 38 Essential Restaurants for 2019.