Present Tense Nashville: Where Culinary Art Meets Modern Flair

Dine Nashville

Updated on:

Restaurant Rating: 5/5 ★★★★★

Food Quality:

5/5 ★★★★★

Menu Price:

4/5 ★★★★☆

Menu Variety:

4/5 ★★★★☆

Service Quality:

5/5 ★★★★★


5/5 ★★★★★


5/5 ★★★★★


5/5 ★★★★★


5/5 ★★★★★

Present Tense is a hidden gem that masterfully blends the traditional charm of a Japanese izakaya with the sophistication of a modern sake bar. This vibrant and inviting restaurant offers a unique culinary journey, featuring an impressive selection of natural wines, innovative cocktails, and an array of delicious Japanese-inspired small plates. With its warm, approachable ambiance and expertly crafted menu, Present Tense provides an unforgettable dining experience that delights both the palate and the senses.

Hokkaido Scallop at Present Tense in Nashville

In this review, we’ll dive into the dining experience at Present Tense, highlighting the standout dishes, the unique beverage offerings, and the overall atmosphere that makes this izakaya a must-visit destination in Nashville. Prepare to be captivated by the harmonious blend of tradition and innovation that defines Present Tense, and discover why this restaurant is quickly becoming a favorite among locals.

About Present Tense

Present Tense is a dining experience that transcends the ordinary. The founders, equipped with a passion for culinary innovation and a desire to contribute something unique to Nashville’s food scene, established a restaurant that combines contemporary cooking techniques with traditional flavors.

From the moment you step inside, you are greeted by the inviting aromas of sizzling skewers, fresh sushi, and carefully prepared dishes that showcase the rich flavors and artistry of Japanese cuisine. The friendly staff are always on hand to guide you through the extensive sake and wine list, ensuring you find the perfect pairing for your meal. Whether you’re a sake aficionado, a natural wine enthusiast, or simply looking to explore new and exciting flavors, Present Tense has something to offer everyone.

Menu Highlights

Present Tense’s menu is a harmonious blend of traditional Japanese izakaya fare and innovative culinary creations, designed to delight and surprise diners. From the indulgent Truffle Fries to the perfectly grilled Yakitori Chicken Thighs and the delicate Hiramasa Sashimi, each dish showcases the restaurant’s commitment to exceptional quality and flavor.

Wagyu Beef at Present Tense

Whether you’re a seasoned lover of Japanese cuisine or a curious newcomer, Present Tense offers a dining experience that is both approachable and extraordinary. Options range from expertly prepared meats to succulent seafood and inspired vegetarian creations, ensuring a memorable meal that can meet most dietary restrictions.

Truffle Fries

One of the unexpected yet delightful offerings at Present Tense is their Truffle Fries. This dish takes the humble French fry to new heights with a luxurious twist. Perfectly crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, these fries are generously dusted with aromatic truffle oil and topped with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. The rich, earthy flavor of the truffle complements the fries beautifully, making this a must-try appetizer or side dish. It’s a perfect example of how Present Tense blends traditional and contemporary flavors to create something truly special.

Yakitori Chicken Thighs

The Yakitori Chicken Thighs at Present Tense are a testament to the restaurant’s commitment to authentic Japanese flavors. These succulent chicken thighs are skewered and grilled to perfection, resulting in a tender and juicy bite with a slightly charred, smoky exterior. The yakitori is brushed with a savory glaze that strikes a perfect balance between sweet and umami, enhancing the natural flavors of the chicken. Served hot off the grill, these skewers are a standout item that embodies the essence of izakaya dining – simple, flavorful, and perfect for sharing.

Hiramasa Sashimi

For those seeking a more refined and delicate dish, the Hiramasa Sashimi is an exquisite choice. Hiramasa, or yellowtail kingfish, is known for its firm texture and clean, slightly sweet flavor. At Present Tense, the sashimi is expertly sliced and presented with a touch of elegance. Each piece of fish is fresh, buttery, and melts in your mouth, offering a true taste of the ocean. Accompanied by traditional garnishes like freshly grated wasabi and thinly sliced radishes, the Hiramasa Sashimi is a testament to the restaurant’s dedication to quality and authenticity.

Sashimi at Present Tense

Quality of Food

At Present Tense, the quality of the food is nothing short of exceptional, setting a high standard for Japanese cuisine in Nashville. The chefs employ traditional Japanese techniques while incorporating modern twists, resulting in a menu that is both authentic and innovative.

The Hiramasa Sashimi, for example, showcases the delicate balance of flavors and textures that can only be achieved with the highest quality fish, sliced with precision and care. Similarly, the Yakitori Chicken Thighs are grilled to perfection, achieving a succulent and smoky finish that highlights the natural taste of the meat. This unwavering focus on quality ensures that diners at Present Tense enjoy an unparalleled culinary experience that leaves a lasting impression.

Service and Staff

The service at Present Tense is a defining feature. From the moment you walk through the door, you are greeted with genuine warmth and hospitality that reflects the essence of Japanese omotenashi, or selfless service.

Matcha Cocktail only at Present Tense in Nashville

The staff at Present Tense are not only friendly and welcoming but also highly knowledgeable about the menu and beverage offerings. They take pride in guiding guests through their dining journey. Their thorough understanding of the sake, natural wines, and unique cocktails available allows them to suggest perfect pairings that enhance the flavors of the food. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply enjoying a night out, the impeccable service at Present Tense adds a touch of elegance and warmth to your meal.

Price and Value

At Present Tense, the pricing reflects the high quality of the ingredients and the meticulous care that goes into every dish. While it is positioned in the mid-to-upper price range for Nashville’s dining scene, the experience and flavors justify every penny. The thoughtfully curated menu ensures that each item delivers a unique and satisfying taste adventure, making it clear that you’re paying for more than just a meal—you’re investing in a culinary experience.

Atmosphere at Present Tense in Nashville

Present Tense FAQ

Curious about what makes Present Tense a standout dining destination? In this FAQ section, you’ll find answers to common questions about this Japanese izakaya and sake bar.

What type of cuisine does Present Tense offer?

Present Tense offers Japanese izakaya-style cuisine, featuring a variety of small plates, skewers, sashimi, and more. The menu also includes an impressive selection of natural wines, unique cocktails, and premium sake.

Where is Present Tense located?

Present Tense is located at 301 Hart St, Nashville, TN 37210 in the Wedgewood-Houston area.

What are the operating hours of Present Tense?

Present Tense typically operates from Tuesday to Sunday, opening at 5:00 PM and closing at 10:00 PM. However, it is advisable to check their website or call ahead for the most up-to-date hours.

Does Present Tense take reservations?

Yes, Present Tense accepts reservations. It’s recommended to book in advance, especially on weekends and for larger groups, to ensure you secure a table.

Is there a dress code at Present Tense?

Present Tense maintains a casual yet stylish atmosphere, so smart casual attire is recommended. There’s no strict dress code, but dressing nicely enhances the dining experience.

What are some must-try dishes at Present Tense?

Some standout dishes at Present Tense include the Truffle Fries, Yakitori Chicken Thighs, and Hiramasa Sashimi. Each of these dishes showcases the restaurant’s dedication to quality and flavor.

Does Present Tense offer vegetarian or vegan options?

Yes, Present Tense offers a selection of vegetarian and vegan options. The menu includes various vegetable dishes and creative adaptations of traditional Japanese recipes.

Can I host a private event at Present Tense?

Yes, Present Tense offers options for hosting private events. Whether it’s a small gathering or a larger celebration, the restaurant can accommodate special requests. Contact them directly to discuss details and availability.

Does Present Tense have a bar?

Yes, Present Tense features a bar that serves a wide range of beverages, including unique cocktails, natural wines, and a curated selection of sake. The bar is an integral part of the dining experience.

Are the ingredients at Present Tense locally sourced?

Present Tense prioritizes using high-quality, fresh ingredients, and they source locally whenever possible.

What is the price range at Present Tense?

The price range at Present Tense is mid-to-upper, reflecting the quality of the ingredients and the craftsmanship of the dishes. Appetizers and small plates typically range from $8 to $15, while larger dishes and specialty items can range from $15 to $30.

Visit Present Tense

Present Tense is a must-visit destination for food enthusiasts in Nashville’s dining scene. This Japanese izakaya and sake bar offers an inviting and sophisticated atmosphere. Whether you’re looking to explore the world of sake, savor unique cocktails, or simply enjoy a memorable meal, Present Tense delivers on all fronts. Make sure to add this remarkable restaurant to your list of dining experiences in Nashville—you won’t be disappointed.


Monday: CLOSED
Tuesday: 5PM – 10PM
Wednesday: 5PM – 10PM
Thursday: 5PM – 10PM
Friday: 5PM – 10PM
Saturday: 5PM – 10PM
Sunday: 5PM – 9PM

Happy Hour: 4PM-5PM Daily

Contact Info

Phone: (629) 231-4006

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